Terrifying documentary on the fire bombs roaming America's railroads

Illustration for article titled Terrifying documentary on the fire bombs roaming America's railroads

Boom is a terrifying documentary on a problem that you may not be aware of: America has been invaded by hundred of thousands of moving fire bombs—freight trains with old, cheap tanker cars designed to transport corn oil filled with dangerous flammable oil. Logically, accidents are happening, people are dying, and oil is spilling.


As production kept increasing, the oil-by-train transport business grew from 9,500 carloads of crude oil in 2008 to more than 400,000 tankers in 2013, each carrying 30,000 gallons. Many trains carry as much as one hundred cars. Naturally, the list of accidents keeps increasing:

  • A train hauling 2.9 million gallons of Bakken oil derailed and exploded on November 8 in Aliceville, Alabama, and the oil that leaked but did not burn continues to foul the wetlands in the area.
  • On December 30th, a train collision in Casselton, North Dakota 20 miles outside of Fargo, prompted a mass evacuation of over half the town's residents after 18 cars exploded into fireballs visible for miles. 400,000 gallons of oil spilled after that accident, which involved two trains traveling well below local speed limits.
  • Around 1AM on July 5, 2013, over 60 oil cars exploded after a runaway train derailed in Lac-Megantic, a Canadian town near the Maine border, leveling dozens of buildings and killing 47 of the town's roughly 6,000 residents.

Sounds bad? It gets worse: The U.S. government says that freight train accidents spilled 1.15 million gallons of crude oil just in 2013. For comparison, the average amount from 1975 to 2012 was 22,000 gallons a year.

According to a New York Times' story, the bad news don't stop there: Not only they are putting every city and town with a railroad at risk, we are all paying for it: "States and the federal government have handed out tens of millions in public dollars to rail companies and government agencies to expand crude oil rail transportation across the country."

I tell you who is not losing money and who is not going to give a damn about jobs and ruined nature once North Dakota dries up: Your friendly assholes, the oil companies.

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Maybe opposing pipeline construction on environmental grounds isn't such a smart idea after all.