Thursday, July 24, 2014

The fine print: U.S. government fudges phase-out of old oil tank cars

Seattle PI   |

Federal regulators in Washington, D.C., laid out new proposed safety rules for oil-carrying trains, claiming on Wednesday that old, 1960s-vintage tank cars will be phased out and replaced within two years by stronger, more explosion-resistant cars.

The promise may be hollow and deceiving.  The fine print in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s proposed rules suggests that the phase-out of DOT-111 tank cars — like those which exploded last summer at Lac-Megnetic, Quebec — will take at least a year longer.

“Specifically, within two years, it proposes the phase out of the use of older DOT 111 tank cars for the shipment of packing group 1 flammable liquids, including most Bakken crude oil, unless the tank cars are retrofitted to comply with new tank car design standards,” said a Transportation Department release.

Highly flammable Bakken crude oil from North Dakota is traveling by train, across Washington and through major Puget Sound population centers, to refineries at Anacortes and Cherry Point on northern Puget Sound.

The Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad moves between eight and 13 oil trains through Seattle each week, each containing 1 million or more gallons of Bakken crude oil.  The entire Seattle City Council has sent USDOT a letter calling for an emergency moratorium on the shipments.
  .....continued here

Also 7/24: derailed in Seattle this morning. Sightline will provide updated analysis here

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