Friday, March 06, 2015

Oil-train derailment is 3rd in 3 weeks; White House letting N.D. rules control volatile gas in cars

Photo: Mike Burley, Dubuque Telegraph-Herald
As firefighters deal with the third U.S. oil-train derailment in three weeks, Patrick Rucker of Reuters reports that "The Obama administration weighed national standards to control explosive gas in oil trains last year but rejected the move, deciding instead to leave new rules to North Dakota, where much of the fuel originates."

Rucker writes, "But a growing number of safety advocates say relying on North Dakota is not insufficient to regulate a product that is hauled thousands of miles of track and across many state lines. 'These trains are going all across the country so it absolutely has to be the feds who are in charge,' said Karen Darch, mayor of Barrington, Ill., where several oil and ethanol trains pass through her town weekly."

Some cars in one of those Burlington Northern Santa Fe trains carrying Bakken Shale crude oil from North Dakota derailed Thursday three miles south of Galena, Ill., causing two explosions, a spectacular fire and an evacuation in a one-mile radius, the weekly Galena Gazette reports, adding: "The derailment comes two weeks after a similar incident happened north of Dubuque." (Gazette photo by Carter Newton; click on it for larger version)
"Current and former administration officials told Reuters they were unsure if they had the power to force the energy industry to drain volatile gas from crude oil originating in North Dakota's fields" as part of new rules for oil trains that are to be issued this spring, Rucker reports. "Instead, they opted to back North Dakota's effort to remove the cocktail of explosive gas, known in the industry as 'light ends', and rely on the state to contain the risk. North Dakota's regulations come into force next month."

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