Libya says its forces now near oil tanker

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — Libyan government forces and loyal militia fighters besieged a North Korea-flagged tanker Sunday that a rival militia hoped to use to export oil in defiance of central authorities, officials said.

Al-Habib al-Amin, the country's culture minister and a top aide to Libya's prime minister, told reporters in a televised news conference that government forces including navy vessels were deployed to al-Sidra port to stop the tanker.

"It's final and decisive. Any attempt (by the tanker) to move, it will be turned into scrap," al-Amin said.


Libya authorizes military force to 'liberate' oil ports


Libya's parliament authorized a special military force to move within the week to wrest control of oil ports from militias, but the military is expected to struggle against the seasoned militia members, Reuters reports.


Senators: Gov't too slow to write rail safety rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — Government regulators are taking too long to write new rail safety regulations in light of recent fiery oil train accidents and a deadly commuter train derailment, frustrated senators said Thursday.

Railroads are also taking too long implement safety improvements Congress ordered under legislation passed seven years ago, lawmakers complained at a hearing of the Senate's surface transportation panel.


Canada reports crude oil as explosive as gas

TORONTO (AP) — The crude oil that exploded during a fatal derailment in Quebec last year that killed 47 people had characteristics similar to that of unleaded gasoline, a highly flammable liquid, Canada's transportation safety agency said Thursday.

The Transportation Safety Board said in a newly released report that the crude tested by Canada's transportation agency had a low flash point, which refers to the temperature at which the crude gives off enough vapor to ignite in air.


Feds detail tests for crude moved by rail

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal regulators offered more details on testing requirements for oil transported by rail on Thursday and warned companies against skirting the rules after a spate of explosions caused by crude train derailments in the U.S. and Canada.

The new order from the U.S. Department of Transportation builds on a Feb. 25 declaration that the industry's unsafe handling practices have made crude shipments an imminent hazard to public safety and the environment.


NY fines CSX $10,000 over 2 oil train derailments

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The New York state Department of Transportation has fined CSX Railroad $10,000, saying it failed to report two oil train derailments within an hour of when they happened as required by state law.

A Feb. 25 derailment in Kingston involved empty rail cars that had contained crude oil. A Feb. 28 derailment at the Selkirk yard near Albany involved a train loaded with crude oil. The cars remained upright and nothing spilled.


Concerned about oil train derailments, NY is inspecting railyards: Cuomo


Looking to prevent train accidents involving Bakken crude, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that New York has started inspecting railyards, Reuters reports.


Confusion over new order on oil transport: Gerard

National Journal

American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard, at a House hearing, criticized the recent emergency order regarding testing of crude before transporting it, calling the wording confusing, but PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman said it was ambiguous in order to give shippers flexibility, National Journal reports.


Rail cars used to ship oil called 'unacceptable'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rail tank cars being used to ship crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken region are an "unacceptable public risk," and even cars voluntarily upgraded by the industry may not be sufficient, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday.

The cars, known as DOT-111s, were involved in derailments of oil trains in Casselton, N.D., and Lac-Megantic, Quebec, just across the U.S. border, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt said at a House Transportation subcommittee hearing.

Forty-seven people were killed and 30 buildings destroyed in the blaze ignited by the Lac-Megantic accident. The Casselton accident, which occurred half a mile outside the town, created a massive fire that burned for more than 24 hours.

Feds emergency order aimed to improve oil train safety

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators issued an emergency order Tuesday requiring more stringent testing of crude oil before shipment by rail to determine how susceptible the cargo is to explosion or fire, a response to a string of train accidents since last summer involving oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana.

The order also would place crude oil under more protective sets of hazardous materials shipping requirements, rather than allowing some shipments to be treated as less dangerous, the Transportation Department said.

That means the fuel may no longer be carried by tank cars that lack certain safety features, according to government officials. That includes 1,100 cars that account for about 3 percent of the total crude fleet, according to the Association of American Railroads.


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