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Welcome! You have found the Delta-Sierra Group home page. We are a regional unit of the Motherlode Chapter of the Sierra Club located in San Joaquin County in Northern California. We focus on outdoor activities and give serious attention to environmental issues. We all agree to practice the Sierra Club motto that you should "Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet". Whether you are a member or not, please practice the motto!
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Our Meeting Monday, January 26, 2015 at 7:00 pm
Casselton, North Dakota Train Accident.
Of the train accidents worldwide reported in 2014, 23 of 49 (47 percent) took place in the United States. The Casselton, North Dakota accident that occurred December 30, 2013 resulted in 400,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from 18 of the 21 rail cars that derailed. An ensuing explosion sent a massive mushroom cloud of fire above the prairie and forced the evacuation of 1400 residents. We eventually learned that Bakken crude being hauled by the BNSF train was more flammable than expected.

Train transport of crude oil has increased 50 fold since 2009. Arguments are made that rail transport is safer than moving crude oil by truck on our highways. This fallacy assumes we must pick one or the other. The Sierra Club does not take a position on which kind of horse and cart we use. Our goal is to free our dependency on fossil fuel that includes crude oil and coal.

As crude shipments are increasing in number and crossing the nation on rail, communities need to be aware of the significant, potential dangers towards our citizens. San Joaquin County is a pathway for the major rail lines. In an article on "Crude oil transport danger for Stockton?", Alex Breitler of The Record wrote of that the quantity of crude "sent by train has skyrocketed from 1 million barrels in 2012 to 6.3 million barrels last year, and experts say the number could climb as high as 150 million barrels by 2016, according to a report by a working group convened by Governor Jerry Brown."

Come hear two short presentations by Tom Block who has been speaking to the Stockton City Council on this issue.

1. "Significant and Unavoidable" targets the facade of a Culture of Safety that the rail industry has constructed.

2. "There Goes the Neighborhood" looks at what happens in the Bakken. Corruption, both covert and overt, is evident in both the oil and rail industries without sufficient oversight. The two industries only fear a sudden catastrophe like the tragedy in Lac-Megantic. Smaller cumulative incidents don't worry them since the public seems to remain disinterested.

Tom Block was an occasional adjunct professor of Anthropology at Youngstown State University and taught at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. He is presently a member of the Public Arts Advisory Committee and he volunteers at the San Joaquin Historical Society and museum.
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