US officials revive oil train safety order after complaints

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. transportation officials are extending an order for railroads to notify states about shipments of hazardous crude oil shipments.

Emergency responders had raised worries over a new rule that did away with the requirement.


Federal agency dings Shell for oil rig mishap in Arctic

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — As Royal Dutch Shell PLC seeks permits for exploratory oil drilling off Alaska's northwest coast, a federal agency has concluded the company underestimated risk the last time it moved drill rigs to Arctic waters.

A National Transportation Safety Board report issued Thursday said the probable cause of the grounding of the company's mobile drilling vessel, the Kulluk, in 2012 was "Shell's inadequate assessment of the risk for its planned tow" across the Gulf of Alaska.

Bad planning sent Shell Arctic rig aground: NTSB


Shortcomings in Shell Oil Co.’s plan to tow the Kuluk drilling rig across the stormy Gulf of Alaska led to its grounding in 2012, according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board, FuelFix reports.

Japan nuclear plant obtains final permit needed to restart

TOKYO (AP) — A nuclear plant in southern Japan on Wednesday obtained the final permit needed to restart its reactors, paving the way for it to become the first to go back online under new safety standards introduced following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority approved operational safety plans for the Sendai nuclear power station's two reactors, owned by Kyushu Electric Power Co., the last step of the authority's three-part screening process the utility needed to pass. The plant's safety program includes emergency response plans in case of fire, flooding or other natural disasters, or a serious accident.


Coast Guard: Fire on Gulf oil platform; 28 workers evacuated

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Fire broke out Friday morning on an oil platform off Louisiana's coast, forcing the evacuation of 28 workers, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

No injuries were reported. Workers were evacuated by an offshore supply vessel that reported the fire at 2:50 a.m. Friday in state waters near Breton Island off Louisiana's southeastern coast, the Coast Guard said in a news release.

Record fine for NY’s Westchester over drinking water


Westchester County will pay a civil penalty record $1.1 million fine for failing to properly treat drinking water, overall spending around $12 million as part of a settlement of a federal lawsuit, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, according to Reuters.

House Energy and Commerce Committee

Shimkus presses for Yucca Mountain as Dems push for alternatives

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission should finish the review of the Yucca Mountain waste disposal site so the nation can move forward with a permanent system for storing radioactive materials, according to the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.

Opponents told the panel Friday that the government should focus instead on interim storage sites, or should abandon Yucca Mountain altogether and look for another permanent site. 

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., the panel's chairman, used the hearing to press witnesses, including NRC's Yucca Mountain review director, Josephine Piccone, on how the agency would proceed if it had funding for the review to continue.

Environmentalists join legal fight over oil train rules

The Wall Street Journal

The Transportation Department’s new rules to boost oil train safety don’t move quickly enough to phase out old rolling stock and aren’t stringent enough in requiring upgrades, according to a petition filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by Earthjustice on behalf of several non-profit groups, The Wall Street Journal reports.

US cites DuPont over gas leak that killed 4 workers

LA PORTE, Texas (AP) — Federal work-safety agents cited DuPont on Thursday for 11 safety violations relating to a toxic gas leak last November that killed four workers at a Houston-area plant.

In issuing the citations, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the four dead workers "would be alive today" had DuPont "taken steps to protect them" at its chemical plant in La Porte. In a statement, the agency said it had "identified scores of safety upgrades the company must undertake to prevent future accidents" at the plant.

In rural Colombia, ban on anti-coca herbicide is bittersweet

CRUCITO, Colombia (AP) — Manuel de Jesus Sanchez holds up a green poncho to protect his skin from the midday sun. The farmer says he was working in a rice paddy four years ago when a crop duster buzzed by, dumping large quantities of what everyone here refers to as "the poison."

From that moment Sanchez was exposed to the glyphosate-based herbicide used by Colombia to wipe out cocaine-producing crops, he says his skin broke out in a yellow rash. Now white blotches have spread across his body and his eyesight is dimming.


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