Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Call for Suspension of Crude-by-Rail in Calif./ Appeal Filed to Ban DOT-111s

Call for Suspension of Crude-by-Rail Shipments After Feather River Derailment

KQED news    12/02/14

A prominent critic of the state’s readiness to respond to potential crude-by-rail accidents wants Gov. Jerry Brown to impose a moratorium on oil trains traveling through Northern California’s Feather River Canyon and more than a dozen other sections of railroad throughout the state.

State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) made the request after a Union Pacific freight train derailed on the Feather River route northeast of Oroville last week. A dozen cars of the train, which was carrying grain, left the tracks; one car spilled corn into the river.

Hill’s letter (embedded below) reminded the governor the incident was a close call:
Your Office of Emergency Services (OES) was quoted as saying that “we dodged a bullet” because the train was carrying corn rather than oil. OES stated that each week a train carrying 1 million gallons of highly volatile crude oil from the Bakken oil field in Montana and North Dakota travels down the canyon and there are plans to add a second train shortly.....   read more here

U.S. Sued Over Refusal to Ban Older Rail Cars for Crude

December 02, 2014     Bloomberg
Earthjustice and other environmental groups asked a federal court to force the U.S. Transportation Department to reconsider its rejection of an immediate ban on the use of rail tank cars lacking updated safety features for shipping Bakken crude oil. 

The tank cars’ safety was questioned after a July 2013 explosion that killed 47 people when an unattended, runaway train hauling 72 carloads of Bakken crude derailed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec.

The transportation department is managing tank car safety issues through a series of directives, short of a ban, and rules are being drafted to phase out the older rolling stock, the agency said in November, declining the groups’ request for an emergency ban.

That response fails to consider the risks posed by the cars, including “past findings that the surge in crude-by-rail shipments of Bakken crude in dangerous tank cars poses imminent hazards and emergency unsafe conditions,” according to the complaint, filed today in federal appeals court in San Francisco.....     read more here

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