Nebraska is becoming one of the leaders in ethanol production and is shipping about 900 million gallons of the biofuel out of state. Since the ethanol industry has not quite figured out how to get the fuel through existing pipelines, long lines of tanker rail cars are the only way to move ethanol around.
This story in the Columbus (NE) Telegraph says how to handle those materials in an emergency situation was the subject of training last week:
With those sorts of concerns in mind, BNSF was among the hosts for a seven-city training tour for emergency responders that pulled into Lincoln for Thursday and Friday sessions along the tracks just west of the Haymarket.
Tony Bacino, a safety consultant based in Pueblo, Colo., was among those trying to build ethanol safety awareness through a program called TRANSCAER, or Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response.
“It’s projected that, by the end of the year, ethanol will probably be the No. 1 hazardous material transported by rail,” Bacino said.
Besides Lincoln Fire and Rescue, Friday’s audience included emergency teams from surrounding towns including Adams, Beatrice, Hickman, Malcolm, Milford and Seward, and others from as far away as Ponca and Winnebago.
The railroad points out that their cars, built like Sherman tanks, are the safest way to transport ethanol… but some past incidents show that rail still has some accidents, and this training will help those emergency and train crews to handle what’s nearly a certainty.