Target: United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx
Goal: Make stabilization of crude oil a requirement for transport in order to prevent deadly accidents
Crude oil extracted from shale formations is an extremely unstable substance. Without correct precautions, shipment is highly dangerous – deadly, fiery oil transport accidents are increasing across North America. Stabilization is a process that can remove most of the volatile gasses prior to transport, but it is not currently required by any state or federal law. It is important that the federal government mandate stabilization of crude oil in order to make shipping safer.
Similar to jet fuel, oil extracted from shale is much more flammable than traditional crude oil. Stabilizers are machines that use heat and pressure to boil away the lighter, more easily combustible hydrocarbon molecules found in the substance, lowering vapor pressure and making crude oil safer to handle and transport.
With hydraulic fracturing on the rise, production of volatile crude has skyrocketed, and not all manufacturers are implementing necessary precautions. In North Dakota’s Bakken Shale oil field, for instance, stabilization equipment was never built or installed. This means that one of the fastest-growing crude oil producers in the nation is generating oil that pipelines often reject for transport because it is too dangerous. Furthermore, the Bakken is growing so fast that adequate pipelines do not even exist to accommodate it. Instead, each day railroads transport 630,000 barrels of its unstabilized oil all over the nation. There is increasing concern over the fact that Bakken oil is being shipped without proper safety precautions or labeling, regularly endangering communities that neighbor the railroads.
The federal government is currently considering whether or not it should require stabilization. Mandating the safety method would mean that oil companies must install expensive equipment and possibly slow development in areas such as the Bakken oil field, but it would drastically reduce the risk of devastating accidents. Most industry and energy experts agree that stabilizing would improve safety; unfortunately, no one wants to upset big oil companies by saying so publicly.
It is important that Americans speak up in support of a national stabilization requirement. Sign the petition below to demand that Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx pass legislation mandating this imperative safety measure. It is completely unacceptable to let oil corporations bully the government and endanger hundreds of thousands of people so that they can scrape every last dollar and cent into their deep pockets.
Dear Secretary Foxx,
Crude oil produced by hydraulic fracturing is a hazardous substance if left untreated. It contains volatile gasses that are highly flammable, making transportation without proper safety measures incredibly irresponsible. Numerous deadly shipping accidents have already occurred across North America, and still there is not a single state or federal law requiring that crude oil be stabilized.
I understand that mandatory stabilization would mean additional expense for oil companies, but truthfully, the cost pales in comparison to the safety of American citizens. As you continue discussions regarding a federal requirement, I implore you to consider that allowing such a highly volatile, untreated substance to be shipped across the nation endangers hundreds of thousands of people.
I urge you to protect people all over North America by passing legislation that requires crude oil to be stabilized for transport. Experts agree that this is an effective way to reduce devastating accidents. Please demand it of oil companies nationwide.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Aleklett’s Energy Mix