March 29, 2015

Sen. Franken asks FRA to reroute Minn. oil trains

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WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Sen. Al Franken asked the Federal Railroad Administration to consider rerouting trains carrying volatile Bakken crude oil from North Dakota so they do not pass through Minnesota’s biggest cities. For Franken, the possibility of rerouting is an integral part of a comprehensive response to a recent rash of fiery oil [...]

BNSF faces penalty on hazmat spill reporting rules

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington state rail safety regulators March 19 recommended BNSF Railway Company be penalized for failing to timely report multiple hazardous material spills along state railways. The Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) issued the formal complaint following a staff investigation into BNSF’s failure to report 14 releases of various hazardous materials, including crude [...]

Oil industry must join railroads to boost train safety

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WASHINGTON – Rail operators are going to great lengths to prevent oil train derailments but the energy sector must do more to prevent accidents from becoming fiery disasters, the leading U.S. rail regulator said on Friday (March 13). Oil train tankers have jumped the tracks in a string of mishaps in recent months that resulted [...]

Dangerous trains, aging rails

A CSX freight train ran off the rails last month in rural Mount Carbon, W.Va. One after another, exploding rail cars sent hellish fireballs hundreds of feet into the clear winter sky. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency, and the fires burned for several days. The Feb. 16 accident was one of [...]

Ill. oil train derailment threatens Mississippi River

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An oil train derailment and spill in northwest Illinois poses an “imminent and substantial danger” of contaminating the Mississippi River, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Saturday. The spill from the derailment, which occurred Thursday, also threatens the Galena River, a tributary of the Mississippi, and the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, one [...]

Train carrying crude oil derails in Illinois

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A freight train loaded with crude oil derailed in northern Illinois on Thursday, bursting into flames and prompting officials to suggest that everyone with 1 mile evacuate, authorities said. The BNSF Railway train derailed around 1:05 p.m. in a rural area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi, according to company spokesman Andy Williams. The [...]

Who’s to blame for the exploding oil trains?

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A week after a CSX train hauling crude oil derailed and exploded 30 miles southeast of Charleston, W. Va., on Feb. 16, its mangled, charred tank cars were still being hauled from the crash site. Of the 27 cars that derailed, 19 had been engulfed in flames. The wreckage burned for almost three days. “It’s [...]

Oil train wrecks increase pressure for tougher rules

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Fiery wrecks of trains hauling crude oil have intensified pressure on the Obama administration to approve tougher standards for railroads and tank cars despite industry complaints that it could cost billions and slow freight deliveries. On Feb. 5, the Transportation Department sent the White House draft rules that would require oil trains to use stronger [...]

Oil trains are taking high-stakes risks with lives

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Five hundred and ninety one days have passed since a train carrying crude oil derailed and incinerated the town of Lac Megantic in Quebec. In that time, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has still not finalized new safety rules on tank car standards and operational controls for trains carrying highly flammable liquids. Read the [...]

FRA’s investigation into W. Va. derailment begins

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On Feb. 22 the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced that is now able to move forward with its full-scale forensic investigation into the derailment outside of Montgomery, W. Va., followed by a slower start earlier this week hampered by weather and safety concerns. During a media conference in Boomer, W. [...]