“In the past month, there have been numerous public relations efforts suggesting that much is being done to improve oil by rail safety. Unfortunately, it seems these efforts will not involve much more than press releases and hollow promises.”
Those words were first published on DeSmogBlog in March of last year in an article titled Why Nothing Will Happen On Oil by Rail Safety.
In that article, one particular public relations effort was highlighted:
“One of the more popular talking points in the recent PR effort was that BNSF, the railroad that is the largest transporter of oil by rail, had volunteered to buy 5,000 new rail tank cars that exceed any existing safety standard.”
This statement was referring to articles such as the one in the Wall Street Journal last February stating, “BNSF Railway said it plans to buy as many as 5,000 new tank cars to transport crude oil, an unusual move that marks the latest effort by the rail industry to improve safety after a spate of accidents.” Similar articles appeared in Reuters (“Exclusive: BNSF to move into tank car ownership with safer oil fleet”) and CNBC.
It was a clear message. The rail industry was not waiting on new regulations to improve safety and would take steps immediately to make the movement of oil by rail safer. Tough to argue with that, right?
Except it was nothing more than a public relations campaign.