Friday, October 30, 2015

Who's in charge here? BigOil and Rail lobbies skirt regulation

Congress extends deadline for railroads to install anti-derailment technology

The deadline was December 31st, but only 31 percent of locomotives have positive train control

Thanks to intense lobbying by the railroad industry, Congress approved a bill that would extend the deadline by at least three years for implementation of Positive Train Control, an automated braking technology that experts believe provides a needed check on human error and prevents deadly derailments.

Seven years ago, after a train collision killed 25 people in Los Angeles, Congress ordered railroads nationwide to install positive train control by the end of 2015. Since then, a number of derailments occurred that could have been avoided if the trains involved had the technology available. Experts estimate that the system could have prevented 145 rail accidents that killed 288 people and injured 6,575 since 1969. "But we can't let this drag on indefinitely."  But the railroad industry has been dragging its feet ever since Congress approved the mandate....   more here

Audit finds railroad safety lacking during high oil traffic

By MATT VOLZ     10/29/15    Fire Engineering

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's oversight of railroad safety falls short at a time when volatile crude oil train traffic from the Bakken region, already high, is only expected to increase, a new audit found.

Montana has no active rail safety plan and employs only two inspectors to cover the vast state, the Montana Legislative Audit Division report released Wednesday said. In addition, there is a lack of statewide emergency planning and hazardous-material response capability should an oil spill occur, the report found.

That's a potentially precarious situation with a new crude oil transfer station in North Dakota coming online that should boost oil traffic crossing Montana from about 10 trains a week to up to 15 cars per week. One out of every five Montanans lives in an evacuation zone for an oil-train derailment, which is within a half-mile of a rail line, the report said.

Trains carrying Bakken crude have been involved in fiery derailments in six states in recent years. In 2013, a runaway train hauling crude from the Bakken derailed and exploded in downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing 47 people.....    more here

How's this for a spill response plan??

Come on baby light my fire

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