Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "oil trains" ...

  • Growing Oil Train Traffic is Shrouded in Secrecy

    Oil train traffic in the Northwest is on the rise, as more oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota arrives at Washington refineries. But despite numerous incidents of oil trains catching fire and exploding around North America, the companies transporting that oil aren't sharing enough information with local and state emergency responders. Ashley Ahearn examined the consequences of that data gap and the risk to the public, and profiles citizens who are taking matters into their own hands and tracking the oil trains themselves.
  • Trains Plus Crude Oil Equals Trouble Down the Track

    The project represents a yearlong examination of the response to safety problems associated with a massive and sudden increase in crude oil transported by rail. It found that government and industry had failed to identify and correct safety gaps in the rail system, including the inspection and maintenance of track and bridges and the design of the tank cars carrying the oil. It also showed that government efforts to better inform local emergency response personnel still left them in the dark on some types of crude oil moved by rail and on smaller shipments. Additionally, the project detailed efforts by railroads and some states to keep even limited information about crude oil trains out of public view.
  • Oil Trains in Oregon

    Without any public knowledge or advance planning, railroad companies began moving hundreds of millions of gallons of highly explosive oil in unsafe tank cars through some of the Pacific Northwest’s most scenic places. The sudden rise caught first responders, public officials, local residents and regulators by surprise. A rolling investigation by The Oregonian/OregonLive found extensive flaws in state readiness and an opaque state rail safety system that acted beholden to the railroads it was supposed to be regulating.
  • Workers Question Safety Culture Within Railroads Hauling Crude Oil

    KUOW's investigation into worker complaints about BNSF Railway's documents how the company has prioritized speed and profits over safety, with a history of retaliating against workers who report accidents, injuries and safety concerns. Railroad safety has come under public scrutiny now that trains are hauling millions of gallons of oil across North America. In the Northwest, BNSF carries the vast majority of the especially combustible Bakken crude from North Dakota and neighboring states. The railroad now moves nearly 20 oil trains per week through the Columbia River Gorge. The story of Curtis Rookaird, which our investigation and resulting documents confirm, illustrate how a BNSF Railway worker's insistence that government safety standards are followed -- even at the expense of speeding freight to its destination, led to his dismissal.
  • Oil Train Safety Put At Risk

    Oregon Public Broadcasting's investigation into worker complaints about BNSF Railway's documents how the company has prioritized speed and profits over safety, with a history of retaliating against workers who report accidents, injuries and safety concerns. Railroad safety has come under public scrutiny now that trains are hauling millions of gallons of oil across North America. In the Northwest, BNSF carries the vast majority of the especially combustible Bakken crude from North Dakota and neighboring states. The railroad now moves nearly 20 oil trains per week through the Columbia River Gorge. Worker fatigue is a major contributor to these dangers on the rails. As they uncovered, irregular work schedules and sleep disorders are a well-known contributor to train derailments, and yet, the industry has failed to make the adjustments that have been identified as ways to reduce the risk of crashes and derailments.