Thursday, May 7, 2015

NY Rep to Introduce Bill to Ban Unstabilized Bakken Crude

Tacoma refinery fire spews huge column of black smoke

Lowey: Ban explosive crude from rail

Journal News    Khurram Saeed   May 6, 2015

Moments before U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey was preparing to talk about her latest oil train safety initiative, she received word that a 109-car oil train had derailed in North Dakota, with several of the tank cars exploding and catching fire, leading to the evacuation of a town of about 35 residents.

"Can you imagine if it happened here?" Lowey said Wednesday morning at a CSX rail crossing in West Nyack used by 15 to 30 oil trains a week.....

With improved tank cars set to be phased in over the next decade, Lowey said the oil placed inside them also had to be made less dangerous. On Monday, she plans to introduce a bill banning all interstate rail shipments of Bakken crude oil if they are not first treated to remove explosive gases....

...Asked if a ban would be perceived as too drastic, Lowey, D-Harrison, said strong action was needed on oil trains.

"If they go up in flames, that's even more drastic and think of the lives that are lost," Lowey told The Journal News after a news conference featuring a number of local officials. "It's essential that the companies who produce the Bakken oil understand that this volatility is a matter of life and death."....   more here

BNSF crude train derails in N.D.; senators call on Foxx to issue emergency order

Progressive Railroading  May 7, 2015

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) are on the scene today of a BNSF Railway Co. crude-oil train that derailed and caught fire yesterday morning in Heimdal, N.D.....

.... The tank cars involved in the incident were the unjacketed CPC-1232 models, which are among the tank-car models slated for retrofits or phasing out under new federal rules governing the safety of crude-by-rail transportation.....

..... Meanwhile, eight U.S. senators yesterday sent a letter urging U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to immediately enact stronger disclosure requirements regarding shipments of Bakken crude oil. The U.S. Department of Transportation announced new regulations last week that included requiring railroads to share information on the shipment of crude oil with emergency responders.

"We call upon you to issue an emergency order that improves the process for providing detailed information on crude-by-rail movements and volumes to first responders, shifts the onus for information sharing onto the railroads and not communities, and allows for the continued public availability of broader crude-by-rail data on movements and routes,” the senators wrote.

"The final rule constitutes a setback on disclosure requirements that could hamper our first responders and negatively impact the safety of our communities. We urge you to promptly address these shortfalls, and look forward to your response,” the senators continued.

The letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

Preventing derailments is the key to crude oil shipment safety

Although the refining industry supports improved tank car standards—indeed, the industry petitioned DOT for such measures and has since voluntarily invested more than $4 billion to purchase upgraded tank cars—such measures alone will not solve the core problem. The only way to do that is to keep trains on the tracks by requiring more frequent rail inspections and maintenance.  

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) previously tried to strike the right balance between tank car mitigation and derailment prevention through a recommendation to DOT that would obligate the rail industry to enhance its maintenance and inspection programs. That recommendation was rejected by both DOT and the railroads.  ....    more here


Crews better-prepared for derailment since 2013 Casselton accident  


Fire at Washington State Oil Refinery Sends Smoke Across Sky

ABC News       TACOMA, Wash. — May 6, 2015


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