December 22, 2014

Rail groups push feds to drop Bakken oil rule

WASHINGTON — Two railroad industry trade groups have quietly asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to drop its requirement that rail carriers transporting large volumes of Bakken crude oil notify state emergency officials. The railroads have maintained that they already provide communities with adequate information about hazardous materials shipments and that public release of the [...]

Oil, rail industries want seven years to fix tank cars

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The oil and railroad industries are urging federal regulators to allow them as long as seven years to retrofit existing tank cars that transport highly volatile crude oil, a top oil industry official said Tuesday (Sept. 30). The cars have ruptured and spilled oil during collisions, leading to intense fires. Jack Gerard, president of the [...]

Crude oil train safety regulator steps down

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The head of the federal agency tasked with improving the safety of crude oil transportation by rail is stepping down. Cynthia Quarterman, who has led the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration since 2009, will leave an agency that recently proposed sturdier construction standards for tank cars carrying flammable liquids such as crude oil and [...]

BNSF: Keystone pipeline won’t dent crude by rail

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One of the top executives at the nation’s leading hauler of crude oil in trains said Friday that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline wouldn’t take away any of his company’s business. Matt Rose, the executive chairman of BNSF Railway, told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that the controversial pipeline project would move primarily heavy crude [...]

Chicago wants tighter rules on crude oil trains

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Warning that the frequent railroad trains loaded with crude oil passing through the Chicago area are a “serious risk to public safety,” the City Council is calling for tighter restrictions on the shipments than federal officials proposed in July. Council members on Tuesday also asked that the city and other municipalities be given the authority [...]

Oil train regulation passes in California

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California lawmakers on Friday (Aug. 29) passed legislation requiring railroad companies to tell emergency officials when crude oil trains will chug through the state. The bill would require railroads to notify the state’s Office of Emergency Services when trains carrying crude oil from Canada and North Dakota are headed to refineries in the most populous [...]

Rail safety measures due in Va. after oil-train wrecks

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The same day a CSX train carrying almost 3 million gallons of crude oil derailed in downtown Lynchburg, federal investigators took a sample of oil at a rail transfer terminal 1,750 miles away in North Dakota. The oil sampled in North Dakota was owned by Plains Marketing, the same Texas company that owned roughly 30,000 [...]

Grain piles up as trains move N.D. oil

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FARGO, N.D. – The furious pace of energy exploration in North Dakota is creating a crisis for farmers whose grain shipments have been held up by a vast new movement of oil by rail, leading to millions of dollars in agricultural losses and slower production for breakfast cereal giants like General Mills. The backlog is [...]

NS sues to block disclosure of crude oil shipments

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WASHINGTON – A major hauler of crude oil by rail has sued the state of Maryland to stop the public release of information about the shipments, according to court documents. The suit was filed Wednesday, the same day the U.S. Department of Transportation announced proposed rules to improve the safety of crude oil shipments by [...]

Seattle City Council seeks DOT emergency order

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SEATTLE – City Councilmember Mike O’Brien and all eight of his council colleagues signed a letter calling for the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to issue an emergency order prohibiting the shipment of Bakken crude oil in legacy DOT-111 tank train cars. Bakken is highly flammable and easily ignited at normal temperatures by heat, static discharges, [...]