March 28, 2015

Senators propose new crude-by-rail regulations

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced legislation March 25 that would set strong new safety standards for trains hauling volatile crude oil, to better protect American communities along the tracks. The Crude-By-Rail Safety Act of 2015 requires the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Fuel-hauling trains could derail at 10 per year

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The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds of people if an accident happens in a densely populated part of the U.S. The projection comes from a [...]

W. Va. oil-train fireball adding pressure for safety rule

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Video images of a fireball billowing from the wreckage of a derailed train hauling Bakken crude are adding to pressure on federal regulators to act on new safety standards for oil shipments. While there were no fatalities in the CSX Corp. accident in rural West Virginia on Feb. 16, the footage of flames and smoke [...]

NTSB adds tank car safety to ‘Most Wanted’ list

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WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday added railroad tank car improvements to its list of “Most Wanted” safety improvements, reflecting a heightened awareness about problems in transporting crude oil and ethanol by rail. It was the first time the issue has appeared on the board’s annual list of safety priorities since it [...]

BNSF Railway re-evaluates plan for safer cars

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BNSF Railway Co., the railroad owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), is reconsidering a plan to buy 5,000 oil-tank cars built to new safety standards after some customers voiced concern about the initiative. “At first everybody applauded us for doing it,” BNSF Chairman Matt Rose said today during a panel discussion in Washington [...]

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 [...]