September 15, 2014

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, [...]

Minn. lawmaker wants new oil train safety rules

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Minnesota legislator wants Congress to put teeth into requirements for railroads moving hazardous content tank cars. State Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) is chair of the Transportation Committee in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration issued a safety advisory earlier in May urging shippers [...]

Editorial: Time to get serious about oil-by-rail safety

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Nobody would reasonably expect you to put up with a bomb in your backyard. Yet every day, car after car of oil travels on railroads just steps away from people, homes and businesses, putting them at risk of explosions caused by unsafe oil tanker cars. This is increasingly true in Wyoming, where local and regional [...]

Rules could settle tank car dispute

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New rules on moving hazardous materials like crude oil on U.S. railroads could settle a dispute between the energy industry and rail companies that boils down to a fraction of an inch of steel in the frame of each tank car. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx wrote Thursday in a blog post that his agency [...]

BNSF crude cars spur $5 billion safety spat

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A push by Warren Buffett’s railroad to boost oil-shipment safety is meeting resistance from Hess Corp. and other companies that say the plan would mean a surge in costs and force them to scrap thousands of tank cars. A series of accidents including a Quebec crash that killed 47 spurred Buffett’s BNSF Railway Co. along [...]

DOT-111 rail tank cars called ‘unacceptable’

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WASHINGTON – Rail tank cars being used to ship crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region are an “unacceptable public risk,” and even cars voluntarily upgraded by the industry may not be sufficient, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday. The cars, known as DOT-111s, were involved in derailments of oil trains [...]

BNSF plans to upgrade tanker fleet after accidents

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BILLINGS, Mont. – BNSF Railway Co. said Thursday (Feb. 20) it intends to buy a fleet of 5,000 strengthened tank cars to haul oil and ethanol in a move that would set a higher benchmark for safety within an industry that’s seen multiple major accidents. The voluntary step by the Texas-based subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s [...]

Rail firms to adopt safer tank cars on their own

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Companies that transport massive amounts of flammable crude oil say that, after several fiery explosions, they’re not waiting for the U.S. government to issue new regulations and will replace tank cars with new safer cars as fast as they can. Two oil companies, two Canadian railroads and a tank car manufacturer all have in recent [...]

Schumer seeks to turn up heat on railcar safety

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer on Jan. 6 called for an overhaul of old rail tank cars used to carry crude oil after a spate of explosive derailments over the past year. The New York Democrat joined a growing number of politicians concerned about the safety of transporting large volumes of oil by rail [...]

Rise of oil trains fueling concerns in small towns

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WOLF POINT, Mont. – It’s tough to miss the trains hauling crude oil out of the Northern Plains. They are growing more frequent by the day, mile-long processions of black tank cars that rumble through wheat fields and towns, along rivers and national parks. As common as they have become across the U.S. and Canada, [...]