Sand trains stir up dust in St. Paul neighborhood

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 27, 2012 - 10:35 AM

Residents are uneasy over potential health risks posed by silica.

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widespotJun. 26, 12 5:37 AM

As if anyone really cares if the sand is bad for people. They are pumping chemicals in the ground! Does that sound sane? The Bush administration gave the the Fracking industry a free pass on environmental concerns. The gas companies are making A LOT of money, which they can use to buy politicians (see Supreme Court Montana decision from yesterday). I'm at a loss for what regular people can do when up against all the money and corruption.

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texas_technomanJun. 26, 12 6:05 AM

The responsibility is less on the railroads, and more on the shippers of the sand. It is their responsibility to see that the cars are loaded and can be transported in a safe manner. The railroads have the same problem with coal dust, which resulted in fouled ballast (crushed rock under the rail)...ultimately the dust, combined with heavy rains compromised the integrity of the track. The railroads pushed back on the shippers, saying they needed to insure that the dust is somehow subdued. Experiments were done looking at spraying different substances on the open top cars to "seal" the coal. The same could be done with these sand cars, if the shippers could be convinced to do it. But that will cost them money, and the only way they would do it would be if it was made a "term" of their license to extract the sand. Good luck.

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chisago2011Jun. 26, 12 6:36 AM

Ship in covered cars, done.

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jcinmnJun. 26, 12 7:38 AM

chisago2011 - "Ship in covered cars, done." Tarps for thousands of RR cars? Too expensive! That would shoot the cost of extracting oil and gas up and result in gasoline prices over $4 per gallon. Everyone would blame Obama. Romney would be elected and he'd take over the tarp manufacturers move them over to China and charge double for the tarps. That would push the cost of oil and gas up again and gasoline would reach $5 per gallon.

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pasaraJun. 26, 12 7:44 AM

Have these people never heard of a tarp?

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ranger78Jun. 26, 12 7:45 AM

The rail line was there first. These folks started raising gardens much later. You are next to a rail line. Sand is only one of dozens of dangerous items going by you every day. Americans have become first class whiners. If you don't like the rail area, move. Quit looking to blame everybody else.

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overlandJun. 26, 12 8:23 AM

It's misleading to call this "sand." It's SILICA sand. That makes a big difference.

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kleinriderJun. 26, 12 8:26 AM

ranger78 - then the same argument can be used with ranchers: the wolves were here first. These folks started raising sheep and cows much later. Wolves are only one of dozens of natural dangers that surround livestock every day. If you don't like the wolves, move. Quit looking to blame everybody else.

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rzieskeJun. 26, 12 8:39 AM

The inexpensive way is to have a water sprayer over the open cars before they pass thru cities. Dust stays down and closed cars aren't needed. Coal is treated this way.

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songczarJun. 26, 12 8:48 AM

Who needs regulations? Corporations will do what is right. Let's give them a tax break!

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