October 31, 2014

Rails Bracing for Winter

BNSF is telling its customers that it will go into the 2014-2015 winter season better prepared than ever before, especially if the United States experiences a return of the polar vortex. The 2013-2014 winter was one of the most severe winters the United States has experienced in decades with extreme temperatures that persisted for long periods and created special challenges for operating the railroad.

 “While we always prepare the operations for winter, the extreme cold experienced last year provided us some additional insight that we have incorporated into our future preparations and operating procedures,” said Steve Bobb, BNSF executive vice president and chief marketing officer.  “We know that customers depend on BNSF for reliable freight transportation. While unplanned events can always happen, we will go into this winter season with more resources and more preparation than ever before so that our people stay safe amid the harshest of weather conditions and our customers’ freight gets to its destination as promised.”

Given the extremes endured last winter, BNSF’s operating divisions evaluated this year’s winter action plans with the benefit of last year’s winter experience. Steps include:

·         Taken inventory of snow removal equipment and supplies, such as emergency generators and salt supplies.

·         Tested specialized snow removal equipment to make sure it works properly. For example, snowfall in excess of 8” will activate pushers and blade and salt trucks.

·         Reviewed winter weather operational procedures on when to adjust crew transportation procedures so that moving crew from one location to another  using crew vans is eliminated in favor of allowing crews to remain overnight at crew change locations as well as when to adjust train size, speed and other operating restrictions.

Source: BNSF


Voter Survey Favors Biodiesel Tax Incentive



Policies supporting biodiesel production would win a resounding vote of confidence if they were on the ballot in next week’s elections, according to a nationwide survey released Tuesday.

Three out of four voters support a tax incentive for biodiesel, the survey found. Seventy-six percent said they support a national renewable fuel standard. The survey of nearly 1,200 registered U.S. voters was conducted by Moore Information Opinion Research between Sept. 30 and Oct. 2.

The survey was commissioned by the National Biodiesel Board.

The EPA late last year proposed holding biodiesel production under the Renewable Fuel Standard at 1.28 billion gallons, well below actual 2013 production. With just a few months left in the year, the EPA has still not finalized the RFS, leaving the industry with uncertainty.

Among other findings in the survey, 85 percent of respondents said a candidate’s position on energy issues was somewhat important or very important in their voting decision, and 78 percent said a candidate’s position on alternative fuels was very important or somewhat important.

Source:  National Biodiesel Board, U.S. trade association representing the biodiesel industry.


SD Governor’s Safety Award – Wheat Growers

Pictured from left to right: Casey Buchholz (Tulare), Jason White (Woonsocket), Jeff Tiede (Southern Regional Manager), Bruce Eldridge (Chamberlain), John Zeck (Bath), Mike Madsen (Carpenter), Don Herman (Miller), Rick Flatten (Willow Lake), James Lynch (Yale), Tom Waletich (Safety Department), Allen Rogers (Stickney), and Lon Siefken (Columbia).

Pictured from left to right: Casey Buchholz (Tulare), Jason White (Woonsocket), Jeff Tiede (Southern Regional Manager), Bruce Eldridge (Chamberlain), John Zeck (Bath), Mike Madsen (Carpenter), Don Herman (Miller), Rick Flatten (Willow Lake), James Lynch (Yale), Tom Waletich (Safety Department), Allen Rogers (Stickney), and Lon Siefken (Columbia).

Wheat Growers was awarded 15 of the 50 company Meritorious Safety and Health Awards at the 22nd Annual South Dakota Governor’s Safety and Health Conference in Sioux Falls. Fifteen Wheat Growers locations were honored with Meritorious Achievement awards for their efforts towards achieving safety excellence. Meritorious Achievement awards are given for superior safety performance.

The Wheat Growers locations that received awards were: Alpena, Bath, Carpenter, Chamberlain, Columbia, Miller, Redfield Agronomy, Redfield Energy, Redfield Elevator, Stickney, Tulare, West Terminal, Willow Lake, Woonsocket and Yale.

Since 1993, the annual Governor’s Safety Awards has recognized employers with superior safety records. Employers submit workplace injury data that is compared with state and national data and the entrant’s past performance. Ongoing safety programs and activities are also considered.

Source: Wheat Growers