December 19, 2014

Budget bill sets Jan. deadline for rule on oil tank cars

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Hidden away in Congress’ big spending bill, designed to fund the federal government through FY 2015, are stern marching orders to the U.S. Department of Transportation: Deliver a final rule for new, safer oil tank car design standards by Jan. 15, 2015, and require that all rail carriers put in place comprehensive oil spill response [...]

New oil train safety rules divide rail industry

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Three days after an oil train derailed and exploded in 2013 in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, killing 47 people, Greg Saxton wandered through the disaster site inspecting tank cars. For Saxton, the damage was personal. Some of the tank cars were built by Greenbrier, an Oregon-based manufacturer where he’s chief engineer. Almost every car that derailed was [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]