Oil train rules published, starting comment period

The Hill

Proposals to tighten safety standards for crude carried by rail were published in the Federal Register Friday by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, kicking off a period for public comment that will run for 60 days, The Hill reports.


Regulators look at Bakken crude volatility as well as tank car strength


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.


Oil train derails in Seattle rail yard; no spill

SEATTLE (AP) — Nothing spilled when three tanker cars in an oil train from North Dakota derailed at a rail yard early Thursday, but it alarmed environmentalists.

"This is a warning of how dangerous this could be," said Kerry McHugh, communications director for the Washington Environmental Council.

She noted the train derailed near Puget Sound, under Seattle's Magnolia Bridge, the main connection to one of the city's neighborhoods.


New DOT oil train rules could trigger tank car shortage, industry warns


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.

Slow public alert after ND fire raises concerns

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.


Stopping deadly oil train fires: New rules planned

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?


DOT to announce new oil train safety rules

The Wall Street Journal

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.


Fire extinguished at ND oil supply company

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.


Oil train rules to mean more than tougher tank cars: Foxx


Changes to safety measures governing the moving of crude by rail will go beyond more stringent standards for tank cars, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Monday, FuelFix reports.


Lightning a threat to ND saltwater disposal sites

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.


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