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Another Oil Train Explosion

Officials received a report at 2:12 p.m. of a train derailing about a mile west of Casselton, a city of 2,432 people about 20 miles west of Fargo, Morris said.

Fiery images of an oil train exploding in Noth Dakota. Trains are not safe enough, and often drive unmanned over tracks that have not had proper maintenance. With the accident in Lac-Megantic in Quebec fresh in memory it seems time to start thinking about stopping oil transports, and switching to renewables. Of course instead the debat is directed towards building more pipelines as the use of North Dakota oil is increasing.

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These images can become more deadly, but only show a fraction of the actual destruction oil brings to lives today and in our future. Politics in the US is however drowned in oil, and so this type of accident will reoccur as long as there’s oil/tar/coal or gas to extract.

The cost of one barrel of oil increases in the mean time. Not in dollars necessarily, because the price is set based on the the money available in the economy, but in terms of fossil fuels. Tar sand extraction can use 2,170 cubic feet of natural gas per barrel so before you burn it, a lot of fuel has already been burned. The trick here is that this cost is never to much, as long as you can keep the supply going. The trap of fossil fuels is that the producers will never find their feul cost to high as long as they can still extract it, it is after all either using the free fuel or halting operations and having nothing.

As the dependency on oil, or money to have access to it, as well as the shortage of both at the moment creates a competition for the resource, oil companies don’t have to worry about going out of business. They can simply abuse the dependence as drug dealers can abuse a heroin addict looking for a fix. The only way out is to create renewable alternatives to these fuels, so people start feeling there is an exit that is painless and final. These accidents should help us drive support for ‘exit strategies’ and we should not allow it to be used to consolidate the position of fossil fuels.

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