Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Railroads lack insurance for major oil train disasters, feds say- and more (updated x2)


Railroads lack insurance for major oil train disasters, feds say

The Hill  By Timothy Cama - 08/06/14

The insurance policies that most railroads have cannot cover the costs of many crashes or derailments involving oil trains, the Department of Transportation said.

New safety rules for oil trains proposed last week would not mandate higher insurance levels than the $25 million common to the industry....[snip]

....“At this time, the maximum coverage available in the commercial rail insurance market appears to be $1 billion per carrier, per incident,” the DOT said in its analysis. “While this level of insurance is sufficient for the vast majority of accidents, it appears that no amount of coverage is adequate to cover a higher consequence event.”.... read more here

see also: DOT: Rail insurance inadequate for oil train accidents

....For “higher-consequence events” — such as the one in Lac-Mégantic — “it appears that no amount of coverage is adequate,” the analysis says. That’s because the maximum amount of coverage available on the market is $1 billion per carrier, per incident.

“You should know the railroads are used to running bare — without adequate insurance,” said Fred Millar, an independent rail consultant who has criticized the government’s oversight of oil trains. “.....

.... Warren Buffett’s BNSF railroad, the pioneer in the oil train industry, has been requesting that railroads get some of the same protections now afforded to the nuclear power industry, using the Price-Anderson Act as a model. That law requires power companies to contribute to an insurance fund that would be used in the event of an accident, and it also partially indemnifies the nuclear power industry..... read more here

and here too:

Exploding oil-train owners want insurance slack — just like nuclear power

Grist  By Heather Smith

.....It’s a stretch to give a company like BNSF access to a program that has been credited for insulating that industry from environmental risks. The claim probably has something to do with the fear that the next major oil-by-rail accident might happen in place a with a lot more people — and a lot more valuable real estate — than tiny Lac-Megantic.....

Canada to release Lac-Megantic derailment report on Aug. 19

By Curtis Tate,  McClatchy Washington Bureau  Miami Herald 08/05/14

Canadian investigators will release their long-awaited report on a deadly Quebec train derailment in two weeks, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada announced Tuesday.

The agency will unveil the findings of a 13-month investigation on Aug. 19 in Lac-Megantic, the site of one of the worst North American rail accidents in decades.

On July 6, 2013, a 72-car crude oil train rolled, unattended, down a hill and into the town. The subsequent fires and explosions killed 47 people and leveled several square blocks.....
read more here:
Aug 6, 2014      By Natasha Khan Timesonline 
  PITTSBURGH -- More than 40 percent of Pittsburgh’s residents are at risk if a train carrying crude oil through the city derails and catches fire, according to a PublicSource analysis.

That number does not include children at 72 K-12 schools inside that area.

PublicSource created a map using a perimeter of a half-mile on each side of the rail lines known to carry crude oil in the city. A half-mile is the federal evacuation zone recommended for accidents involving crude oil more here

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