Friday, February 14, 2014

Another train derails, spilling crude oil in Pa.

"A 120-car Norfolk Southern Corp. train carrying heavy Canadian crude oil derailed and spilled in western Pennsylvania on Thursday, adding to a string of recent accidents that have prompted calls for stronger safety standards," Robert Gibbons reports for Reuters. Nineteen of the 21 cars that derailed and crashed into an industrial building were carrying oil, spilling between 3,000 to 4,000 gallons, which have since been plugged, according to Norfolk. The other two cars were carrying liquefied petroleum gas. (Reuters photo by Jason Cohn) 

The train, which was headed from Chicago to New Jersey, "is the latest in a spate of crude-oil train derailments that has prompted calls for more stringent rules regulating crude by rail, shipments of which have soared in recent years as pipelines fail to keep up with growing supply," Gibbons writes. "It comes ahead of a Senate hearing concerning the safety of transporting crude by rail, which has become a major political issue as the incidents pile up. The hearing was scheduled for Thursday, but was delayed by the snow."

The accident was the second in less than a month in Pennsylvania, and is another in a long line of accidents, including one in July in Quebec that left 47 people dead. More crude oil was spilled in U.S. railway accidents in 2013 than in the previous 37 years. The Association of American Railroads urged U.S. regulators in November to require retrofits and upgrades for nearly 100,000 cars. In January, the Transportation Safety Board recommending tougher standards for shipping crude oil by rail. (Read more)

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