White House backed away from regulating crude volatility on oil trains


Uncertain of federal jurisdiction in the matter, the White House last year decided to leave to North Dakota the task of regulating the explosive gas content of crude being shipped by rail, administration officials have told Reuters.

EPA launching ‘Safer Choice’ label for household chemicals

The Hill

Household products that contain environmentally safe ingredients will bear a “Safer Choice” label in the future, under a revamped Environmental Protection Agency program that Administrator Gina McCarthy is promoting with a blog and a video, The Hill reports.

Airlines stop accepting rechargeable battery shipments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some of the world's largest airlines are banning bulk shipments of rechargeable batteries in the face of mounting evidence of their potential to cause catastrophic in-flight fires.

Citing safety concerns, United Airlines on Monday became the second major U.S. airline to announce it will no longer accept bulk shipments of rechargeable batteries, also called lithium-ion batteries, which are used to power everything from smartphones to laptops to power tools.


Oil train wrecks increase pressure for tougher safety rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fiery wrecks of trains hauling crude oil have intensified pressure on the Obama administration to approve tougher standards for railroads and tank cars despite industry complaints that it could cost billions and slow freight deliveries.

On Feb. 5, the Transportation Department sent the White House draft rules that would require oil trains to use stronger tank cars and make other safety improvements.

3 killed in illegal Chinese gold mine

BEIJING (AP) — Farmers trying to extract gold from an abandoned mine in central China were overcome by chemical fumes, leaving three dead and six hospitalized, state media reported Tuesday.

Rescuers were dispatched to the mine in Songxian County in the central province of Henan on Saturday after a tipoff from the public, the Xinhua News Agency said.


New tank car safety rules not enough: Canadian regulators

TORONTO (AP) — A fiery oil train derailment in Ontario this month suggests new safety requirements for tank cars carrying flammable liquids are inadequate, Canada's transport safety board announced Monday.

The Canadian Transportation Safety Board said the tank cars involved in the Feb. 14 train derailment met upgraded standards that started to be instituted in Canada last year for new tank cars carrying crude and other flammable liquids. But it said the Class 111, 1232 standard cars still "performed similarly" to those involved in the derailment in Lac Megantic, Quebec that killed 47 people two years ago. That accident predated the changes.


Canada: Oil train accident shows new safety rules inadequate

TIMMONS, Ontario (AP) — Canada's transport investigator says an oil train derailment in Ontario this month suggests new safety requirements for tank cars carrying flammable liquids are inadequate.

The Transportation Safety Board said Monday the Class 111 tank cars involved in the Feb. 14 CN train derailment met the upgraded standards for new tank cars carrying crude and other flammable liquids.


Fuel-hauling trains could derail at 10 a year: DOT analysis

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds of people if an accident happens in a densely populated part of the U.S.

The projection comes from a previously unreported analysis by the Department of Transportation that reviewed the risks of moving vast quantities of both fuels across the nation and through major cities. The study completed last July took on new relevance this week after a train loaded with crude derailed in West Virginia, sparked a spectacular fire and forced the evacuation of hundreds of families.


Cleanup, investigation continue at W.Va. derailment site

BOOMER, W.Va. (AP) — A full-scale federal investigation of an oil train derailment in southern West Virginia has begun as work continues to remove the overturned tank cars from the site, federal officials said Sunday.

A fire sparked by the Feb. 16 derailment in Mount Carbon prevented investigators from gaining full access to the crash scene until this weekend. Foul winter weather also has hampered the investigation. As of Sunday, some cars had been removed from the site but many remained.


Interior proposes new Arctic drilling safety rule

Drillers in the arctic would need separate relief rigs and an Arctic-specific oil spill response plan under a proposed safety rule issued by the Interior Department Friday.

The rule, issued by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, would govern drilling operations in the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea Planning Areas.


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