Surge in Oil Shipped to CA by Rail, Threat to Nevada County?

According to an AP story California is preparing for an oil boom — brought in on rail cars. There are no crude oil pipeline that can bring the North Dakota Bakken Shale crude oil to California and the demand for oil in California is about to jump by 25%, with tanker cars jumping from 9,000 carloads in 2011 to more than 200,000 carloads by 2016, according to California Energy Commission estimates. According to the story, the increased traffic has been mostly in Northern California, involving trains bound for refineries in the San Francisco Bay Area. More details HERE. This will bring more oil trains through Nevada County and that raises some questions:

  1. Has Nevada County made any preparation for increased threat of oil spills?
  2. Gov. Jerry Brown has asked lawmakers for an additional $6.7 million for oil-spill response, will any of that money come to Nevada County?
  3. Could we reduce the number of trains carrying oil through Nevada County, if California were to produce more oil using the latest fracking technology in the Monterey Shale Formation?

Where are our political leaders on this issue?

About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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2 Responses to Surge in Oil Shipped to CA by Rail, Threat to Nevada County?

  1. Russ Steele says:

    I received a nice reply from Supervisor Nate Beason:

    Nevada and Placer counties partner in a variety of emergency preparedness possibilities. Among them is an oil spill by a rail car in one of our two counties along the Union Pacific route which transverses both counties. There is a response team in Truckee in the east and Auburn in the west.

    The oil that is increasingly shipped these days is a higher octane and thus a lower flash point product. Consequently, to enhance our capabilities, we are going after a grant in June that will allow us an even better prospect of success in such an emergency.

    We anticipate that the governor’s response funding will be provided to those areas/lcoalities that experience a spill. I don’t think any of that funding is pre-allocated because it is response funding, not planning funding.


  2. Russ Steele says:

    Ironically, California is sitting on top of one of the potentially largest oil and gas fields in the U.S., the Monterey Formation. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that would allow limited fracking in the state, which should create some jobs in the crucial oil and gas sector.

    However, the anti-fracking forces are out in force again this year. The state Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water just passed SB 1132, by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. It would place a moratorium on fracking until it is studied more. – See more at:


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