US offers $10 million in grants for railroad crossing fixes

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. transportation officials will offer $10 million in grants for states to upgrade highway-rail crossings and tracks in response to a recent surge in flammable fuel shipments.

Wednesday's planned announcement from the Department of Transportation comes as rail crossing collisions have increased over the past several years, following more than three decades of steady declines.

Fire chief criticizes CSX over 2014 Virginia derailment

The fire official who led the response to a 2014 oil train derailment in Lynchburg, Virginia, criticized CSX Transportation, saying it took two hours for the company's representative to arrive at a command post after the wreck.

With fire and smoke billowing along the James River in Lynchburg, city fire battalion chief Robert E. Lipscomb said the sooner he could get answers about the train from the company, the better.


Kuwait oil refinery shut down after fire

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — An official at Kuwait's National Petroleum Company (KNPC) says an oil refinery about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Kuwait City has been shut down after a fire broke out.

KNPC's acting CEO Ahmad al-Jimaz was quoted Monday by the state-run Kuwait News Agency saying that all personnel were evacuated from the Shuaiba refinery and that no one was injured in the accident. He says efforts are being taken to contain the fire that erupted just before noon.


Crude-by-rail safety needs focus on technology and tracks, report says

Transporting crude oil and other energy products by rail would be far safer if regulators, the rail industry and other stakeholders focused on keeping the cars on the tracks instead of responding to derailments, a new report from an infrastructure policy group argues.

The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure, in a white paper released Thursday, contends that derailments could be considerably reduced by using existing technology to better assess rail and equipment conditions, conducting more thorough inspections of track integrity and providing more automated safety backups to reduce the risk of human error.

Settlement in runaway train derailment clears more hurdles

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Friday joined a Canadian judge in approving a $338 million fund to settle claims stemming from a fiery train derailment that claimed 47 lives in Canada.

The final hurdle is a vote by creditors in the U.S. before the plan can be confirmed on Sept. 24, said Robert Keach, U.S. bankruptcy trustee for the former railroad that operated the runaway train.


Hospital: 7 injured from incident at Nebraska petroleum center

WEST POINT, Neb. (AP) — A hospital confirmed that seven people were injured on Wednesday, two of them critically, from an incident at a petroleum distribution center in northeast Nebraska that one witness said produced large flames and black smoke.

St. Francis Memorial Hospital in West Point said in a statement that seven people were taken to the facility following an incident at Sapp Bros. Petroleum in the town about 70 miles northwest of Omaha.


Pemex acknowledges Gulf platform problem


Following local media reports of an explosion and fire, Mexican oil company Pemex has confirmed there was a problem at its Akal-H platform in the Gulf of Mexico, but it says no one was injured because the site was operated remotely, Reuters reports.


New charges brought in 2013 Quebec railway disaster

TORONTO (AP) — The Canadian government filed new charges Monday in the runaway oil train explosion that killed 47 people in Quebec two years ago.

Regulatory agency Transport Canada said the charges have to do with an insufficient number of handbrakes being applied and that the handbrakes were not tested properly.

Former Shell worker cites unsafe conditions on oil ship

SEATTLE (AP) — A woman who was permanently injured while working on one of Shell's Arctic drilling support ships has sued, saying the company compromised safety in its rush to drill for oil.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Thursday by Anita Hanks said Shell and its contractor maintained dangerous work conditions on the Arctic Challenger as it prepared to drill in the Arctic in 2012. The oil spill containment vessel is part of Shell's drilling fleet. It was docked in Bellingham at the time of an accident.


Deadly Oklahoma oil rig fire triggered by heater, OSHA concludes

McAlester News-Capital

An oil rig fire that killed three people in Coalgate, Okla., in December was likely started by an open-flame heater on the floor of an oil rig, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which added that operator Dan D Drilling was cited two years ago for the practice, the McAlester News-Capital reports.


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