BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The U.S. oil industry pushed back Tuesday against tougher rules for rail cars carrying crude following a string of fiery accidents, asserting in a new report that oil from the Northern Plains is no more dangerous than some other cargoes.
But the results of the industry-funded study differ from the stance of the federal government, which issued a safety alert in January warning the public, emergency responders and shippers about the potential high volatility of crude from the Bakken oil patch.
In the wake of last year's disastrous derailment in Lac Megantic, railway operators in Canada would like to see a change in the country’s liability rules. They currently are obliged to move customers’ cargo, including crude oil, but also have to take all responsibility if something goes wrong, The Canadian Press reports.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The company purchasing the assets of a railroad responsible for a fiery oil train derailment that claimed 47 lives in Quebec plans to resume oil shipments after track safety improvements are made, the firm's top executive said Friday.
John Giles, president and CEO of Central Maine and Quebec Railway, said he hopes to have an agreement with officials in Lac Megantic, Quebec, within 10 days that would allow the railroad to ship nonhazardous goods, restoring the vital link between the railroad's operations to the east and west of the community.
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The sale of the Maine-based railroad blamed for a deadly oil train derailment in Quebec has been completed 10 months after the disaster that claimed 47 lives.
Chapter 11 trustee Robert Keach said the parties closed Thursday on the $15.85 million sale of bankrupt Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway. A separate, parallel Canadian proceeding will be completed at a later date.
Proceeds from the sale will help pay off creditors.
The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, a lobbying group for the industry, says existing federal rules are sufficient regarding the loading and transportation of Bakken crude, even though it acknowledges that data shows the oil is very volatile, The Wall Street Journal reports.
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota has the country's highest death rate for workers in the oil, gas and mining sector, at more than six times the national average, and an even higher rate among construction workers, according to a new report from the nation's largest labor union.
The AFL-CIO report, compiled from data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, found that North Dakota had a rate of 104 deaths per 100,000 workers in the oil, gas and mining industry in 2012. The national average was 15.9 deaths per 100,000.
And at 97.4 deaths per 100,000 workers, the state's construction fatality rate was nearly 10 times the national rate for that industry, according to the report.
TORONTO (AP) — Three employees of the insolvent railway company involved in last summer's runaway oil train disaster that killed 47 people are due to appear in court Tuesday to face criminal negligence charges in the small Quebec town that was partially incinerated by exploding tanker cars.
The charges come about 10 months after more than 60 of the tankers carrying oil from North Dakota came loose in the middle of the night, sped downhill for nearly seven miles (11 kilometers) and derailed in the town of Lac-Megantic in eastern Quebec. At least five of the tankers exploded, leveling about 30 buildings, including a popular bar that was filled with revelers last July 6.
The Quebec provincial prosecutor's office said 47 counts of criminal negligence have been filed against engineer Thomas Harding, manager of train operations Jean Demaitre, and Richard Labrie, the railway's traffic controller, as well as against the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd., the defunct railway at the heart of the disaster. The charges represent one count for each person killed and are the first criminal charges brought in the disaster. Criminal negligence that causes death can result in a jail sentence of up to life imprisonment in Canada.
Citing the number of inexperienced people flocking to the Bakken Shale boom state for work, an AFL-CIO study found that those employed in the oil and gas industry were six times more likely to die on the job in North Dakota than workers in other states, Bloomberg reports.
In an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing Wednesday, Republican Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming and David Vitter of Louisiana criticized Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy over charges that the Natural Resources Defense Council was the driving force behind the EPA’s rule limiting carbon emissions from existing power plants, but McCarthy replied that was a “discredit” to the hard work of her staff, E&E reports.
Madelyn Creedon, formerly assistant secretary of Defense, has received Senate confirmation to become the principal deputy administrator in the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, the number two post in the NNSA, National Journal reports.
It’s unlikely any legislation to get states like Louisiana a bigger share of oil and gas revenue will be moving through the Senate anytime soon, and Energy and Natural Resources Committee chair Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., was realistic about the hurdles when she spoke about the issue Tuesday, E&E reports.
Freeport-McMoRan Inc. considers its best prospects for growth to be in deep water oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico, vice chairman Jim Flores said Wednesday, adding that the company will likely sell off up to $5 billion worth of land-based assets to help pay for it, Bloomberg reports.
Looking back on the failed attempt to repeal the renewable portfolio standard in the state legislature’s recent session, Gov. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., on Wednesday reaffirmed his support for wind energy and urged a compromise between supporters and opponents of renewables, The Wichita Eagle reports.
Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning told reporters Wednesday that his company –- which is already building two new nuclear reactors in Georgia -– hopes to announce plans before the end of 2014 for more nuclear construction using the same AP1000 reactor design, Platts reports.
A Harris poll conducted for the American Petroleum Institute found 68 percent of those surveyed support offshore drilling, and Americans likewise back an increase in oil and gas production, FuelFix reports.
The Department of Energy loan program designed to encourage advanced technologies has around a 2 percent default rate and has used only 10 percent of a mandated reserve fund, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Wednesday, The Hill reports.