Trains carrying crude oil shipments are becoming a more common sight in the Newark-Bear area as PBF Energy moves toward North American sources.
PBF has spent tens of millions of dollars upgrading rail facilities around the refinery as it receives crude oil shipments from North Dakota and Canada. The refinery had traditionally received crude from overseas.
The presence of trains with 100 tank cars has led to concerns about blocked crossings and challenges for emergency vehicles. Environmentalists are also worried about the possibility of derailments and spills.
Yet another issue is pollution and damage to the environment caused by extracting oil from tar sands in Canada.
State Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark joined Rep. Earl Jaques and members of the Christiana Fire Company for a briefing from Norfolk Southern Corp. officials.
Legislators were told that at times during the week the trains will pass through Newark and Bear in delivering oil to the refinery. Crossings include Old Baltimore Pike, State Route . 72, U.S. Route 40 and Porter Road. The trains could result in 6 to 8 minute waits at tracks.
Townsend said the railroad offered no assurances that the trains would operate during the night or other periods of light vehicle traffic.
Towsnend said the Christiana Fire Company is putting together an explanation of how the blocking of train crossings would impact response times and the cost for changing operations to take train crossing delays into account.