The Department of Transportation’s proposed regulation tackling oil train safety may have been dealing mostly with tank car construction, but the DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is also reporting on the volatility of Bakken crude, E&E reports.
Trying to phase out old DOT-111 tank cars within two years, as proposed in new Department of Transportation regulations, could trigger a shortage and hurt oil and ethanol production, industry officials warned, Platts reports.
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Officials need to improve communication with residents of North Dakota's booming oil patch during potentially dangerous situations, an emergency manager and residents said, after an oil field service supply facility storing toxic chemicals exploded this week and authorities failed to alert the public for more than six hours.
"They should have done more," Aaron Volesky, a resident of Williston, North Dakota said of the slow release of information. No one was injured or killed in the explosion and fire, which started about midnight Monday and raged most of Tuesday. Flights to and from the town of 20,000 people were canceled for several hours Tuesday as a plume of smoke shot hundreds of feet into the air.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Responding to a series of fiery train crashes, the government proposed rules Wednesday that would phase out tens of thousands of older tank cars that carry increasing quantities of crude oil and other highly flammable liquids through America's towns and cities.
But many details were put off until later as regulators struggle to balance safety against the economic benefits of a fracking boom that has sharply increased U.S. oil production. Among the issues: What type of tank cars will replace those being phased out, how fast will they be allowed to travel and what kind of braking systems will they need?
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Wednesday will announce new rules covering oil train safety, sources told The Wall Street Journal, which says the plan has railroads concerned about possible speed restrictions and oil companies worried about limits on tank car volumes.
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — A once-massive blaze at an oil supply and logistics company that housed flammable chemicals in Williston, North Dakota, has been extinguished, according to the town's fire department.
Most firefighters returned from the facility belonging to Red River Supply late Tuesday, though one truck remained early Wednesday to monitor hot spots, said fire department shift captain Steven Kerzmann.
"The fire is out, but you've got some smoldering embers that might pop up here and there," he said.
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — Three massive fires since the beginning of June have highlighted the threat lightning poses in the North Dakota oil patch, and in each case it was tanks that store the toxic saltwater associated with drilling — not the oil wells or drilling rigs — that were to blame.
The lightning-sparked fires destroyed the groups of silo-like storage tanks at the three locations, which are among more than 440 sites in North Dakota where so-called saltwater is stored before being pumped into permanent disposal sites miles underground. In each case, the fires burned for days, spewing noxious black smoke into the air and literally salting the earth.
Higher gasoline sales may translate into a higher Renewable Fuel Standard, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy told an investors’ conference in New York, although she didn’t provide any specific figures, Bloomberg reports.
Worry that weak manufacturing data from China and Europe might slow global demand weighed on oil prices Tuesday, as did a strong dollar. WTI for October delivery plunged $3.08, or 3.2 percent, to settle at $92.88 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while in London Brent crude slumped $2.45 to hit a 16-month low of $100.34 a barrel, Bloomberg reports.
Republicans from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as well as the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee -- who are investigating the influence the Natural Resources Defense Council has on Environmental Protection Agency policy decisions in the wake of a New York Times story on the issue -- have written to the regulators and the environmental advocacy group demanding that they turn over documents, The Hill reports.
The first half of 2014 saw the country’s electricity prices -– averaging 12.3 cents per kilowatt hour -- increasing faster than they have for the last five years, according to statistics from the Energy Information Administration, The Hill reports.
Texas has enough generating capacity to handle autumn demand including potential emergencies, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said Tuesday, adding that preliminary projections figure the same for winter as well, barring a period of unusually high demand that also coincides with fuel shortages, Platts reports.
George P. Bush, a candidate for Texas Land Commissioner, told the Texas Tribune in an interview that he believes climate change poses a serious threat for the state, particularly from Gulf coast flooding, adding that he supports more reliance on natural gas and renewable energy for electricity.
Project on Government Oversight investigator Michael Smallberg says Department of Energy waivers allowing national lab consultants to serve on DOE’s Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories run counter to the panel's mandate from Congress, according to E&E, which provides details of the waivers revealed through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Pam Haze, who retired Friday after decades of government service, was the top career budget official at the Interior Department for the past six years, winning plaudits from both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill, E&E reports.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality have both approved permits for the Formosa Plastics Corp. to start work on expanding its Port Comfort petrochemical facility to include a unit to convert propane to propylene, as well as an ethane cracker, a company spokesman told FuelFix.