Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New oil rail rules must ensure accountability/ Emerg. response reference sheet

Where oil trains will block traffic in Spokane

Editorial: New oil rail rules must ensure accountability

The Spokesman-Review   10/15/14

Spokane residents and officials frustrated by a railroad and oil industry filibuster at a June hearing on oil train safety will get another opportunity Oct. 28, and they’ll have new sets of proposed federal and state regulations to support their calls for more measures to protect the public from the very real consequences of an accident.

The state Marine & Rail Oil Transportation Study says 16 loaded oil trains pass through Spokane each week, a volume that could double by 2020 and triple by 2035. And although most of the safety concerns have focused on the volatile Bakken crude that has been linked to several fires or explosions, the report notes the environmental hazard posed by another fuel increasingly being moved by train: liquid bitumen from northern Alberta’s tar sands.

If spilled into waterways, the bitumen sinks to the bottom. More than $1 billion has been spent cleaning up a 2010 spill into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. [ 20% of the oil remains in  the river].

The state study, which will be the topic of a five-hour hearing that begins at 5 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, recommends the implementation of several rules and procedures at a potential cost of more than $13 million. One possible point of leverage for the state, which must defer to federal authorities who regulate interstate commerce, is the control of train speeds through public crossings. Gov. Jay Inslee wants train speeds held to 30 mph. BNSF Railway puts its limit at 45 mph.

The final report to the Legislature is due in March. Expect legal challenges from industry if the state adopts an aggressive regulation plan...... read more here

Best practices for oil-by-rail emergency response?

Safety and Health Magazine  10/14/14

A new document aims to help emergency responders safely respond to crude oil rail transportation incidents.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration and the U.S Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy collaborated on the Commodity Preparedness and Incident Management Reference Sheet, which includes information on how emergency services personnel can prepare for and respond to rail transportation emergencies involving crude oil..... read more here


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