Safety

Washington gas blast threw metal pieces 300 yards

Authorities say the explosion that hit a liquefied natural gas storage facility in Eastern Washington earlier this week threw 250-pound pieces of steel up to 300 yards through the air.

Benton County sheriff's Deputy Joe Lusignan said Tuesday that it was "a little bit of a miracle" that no one was killed.

The Monday blast inside a processing plant at the Williams Northwest Pipeline LNG storage facility outside Plymouth, Wash., injured five people, and left a big gash in the side of an LNG storage tank.

Report: EPA fails to disclose risks in human tests

WASHINGTON (AP) — An internal investigation has found that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to disclose long-term cancer risks and a small chance of death to 81 human test subjects who consented to breathe in diesel exhaust and other pollutants during experiments.

The inspector general's report released Wednesday said that at least some people participating in studies in 2010 and 2011 would like to have known whether a study involves a chance of death, no matter how small.

While diesel fumes include 19 potentially cancer-causing substances, an EPA manager said cancer risk was irrelevant because subjects were exposed for two-hour periods. Cancer typically develops over years of exposure.

Coast Guard wins praise for King Cove fishermen rescue

Source: 
KTUU

The Coast Guard won praise from residents in King Cove, Alaska after crews carried an injured fisherman to receive medical treatment, the Coast Guard's fifth such rescue from the region, KTUU reports, adding that officials said if there was a road out of the town treatment would have been available sooner without putting Coast Guard personnel at risk.

Gov't says new rule to make power-plant work safer

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is mandating new safety regulations that it says will help protect workers on electrical power plants and transmission lines.

Assistant Labor Secretary David Michaels says the update to 40-year-old safety standards could save nearly 20 lives and prevent 118 serious injuries each year. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that 74 workers die each year from accidents in these industries.

The agency says the new rules will require better fall protection for workers on poles and towers, protective clothing for some workers and training to avoid electrical hazards.

Japan lets first evacuees live in nuke no-go zone

TOKYO (AP) — For the first time since Japan's nuclear disaster three years ago, authorities are allowing residents to return to live in their homes within a tiny part of a 20-kilometer (12-mile) evacuation zone around the Fukushima plant.

The decision, which took effect Tuesday, applies to 357 people in 117 households from a corner of Tamura city after the government determined that radiation levels are low enough for habitation.

Oil

Ark: Panel discusses Mayflower oil spill effects

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A year after a major oil spill in a small Arkansas town, a congressman says that while communities believe they are ready for a disaster, there is always something else to do to prepare.

The Clinton School of Public Service invited public officials to its campus in Little Rock on Monday to discuss what they may have learned from the March 29, 2013, spill in Mayflower.

"You're never as ready as you think you are," said Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., whose district includes the town. "You're never as ready as you need to be."

Oil

DOT charges industry is hampering oil train safety

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. transportation officials rebuked the oil industry Friday for not giving up information regulators say they need to gauge the danger of moving crude by rail, after several accidents highlighted the explosive properties of fuel from the booming oil shale fields on the Northern Plains.

Department of Transportation officials told The Associated Press they have received only limited data on the characteristics of oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana, despite requests lodged by Secretary Antony Foxx more than two months ago.

PG&E: Federal criminal charges likely in gas blast

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said Thursday the company will likely face federal criminal charges for its role in a fatal gas pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A disclosure document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by PG&E Corp. and its subsidiary said the company expects the federal government will bring criminal charges against the utility in connection with the Sept. 9, 2010, explosion of its transmission pipeline in San Bruno.

Oil

NY asks Global for more info about Hudson River plans

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — State regulators are seeking more information from a Massachusetts company that plans to expand its Hudson River facilities routing rail shipments of North Dakota crude oil to coastal refineries.

The Department of Environmental Conservation sent letters to Global Partners, based in Waltham, Mass., on Monday. The agency requested more information about emergency response plans, community impact, overall operations and other aspects of a rail terminal planned in New Windsor, just north of West Point.

Japan to turn over nuclear material to US

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Japan plans to turn over to the United States more than 700 pounds of weapons grade plutonium and a supply of highly-enriched uranium, a victory for President Barack Obama's efforts to secure nuclear materials around the world.

American and Japanese officials confirmed the plan Monday, ahead of a formal announcement at a Nuclear Security Summit set to get underway in the Netherlands.

A Japanese foreign ministry official said the two countries had been discussing the transfer for some time as part of efforts to resolve concerns over Japan's large stockpile of spent nuclear fuel and plutonium. The U.S. and Japan also are discussing ways to reduce the quantity and toxicity of the radioactive material, the official said.

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