Judge poised to sign off on oil train disaster settlement

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A $338 million settlement fund for victims of a fiery train derailment that claimed 47 lives in Canada is poised for final approval, but payments could be held up by a legal challenge from one of that country's largest railways.

Canadian Pacific, which opposes the settlement fund, declined to contribute because it contends others were responsible for the tragedy.


Change-of-plea hearing set Oct. 20 in deadly platform fire

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Criminal charges filed recently against a Houston company over a 2012 offshore oil platform fire that killed three workers appear headed for resolution.

Neither federal prosecutors nor defense lawyers for Black Elk Energy Operations would comment Friday on whether plea talks are underway. But a federal judge Thursday set three proceedings for the morning of Oct. 20: an initial appearance, an arraignment and then a re-arraignment listed on the docket as a change-of-plea hearing.


Death of Oklahoma oil worker never fully investigated


David Simpson died in 2014 after being found slumped over the hatch of an XTO Energy oil tank, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration dropped the investigation into his case after the cause of his death was listed as “unknown” by the Oklahoma medical examiner, E&E reports.

Republicans oppose new safety rules on offshore drilling

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Republican lawmakers on Tuesday criticized an Obama administration move to toughen standards for offshore drilling, saying the new rules would be costly for drillers and threaten to shut down oil and gas exploration off the nation's coasts.

The Interior Department is preparing to issue standards to close what it says are gaps in blowout preventer rules. A blowout preventer is a piece of equipment designed to shut an out-of-control well. Such a device failed catastrophically when a BP well blew out in 2010, causing a massive oil spill.


Court upholds investors' $2.5B lawsuit against BP


A federal appeals court ruled that a $2.5 billion class-action lawsuit brought by investors against BP for market losses in the wake of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill can proceed, though it upheld a decision that would block investors who owned stock before the spill from seeking damages, Bloomberg reports.


Rail industry lobbies for delay of automated track measure

The Hill

The Association of American Railroads is pressing Congress for a delay of the December 2015 deadline for the freight rail industry to install Positive Train Control nationwide, saying a 2018 deadline is more realistic for successful implementation of the automated track safety technology, The Hill reports.


Fired Calif. regulator: Brown pushed to waive oil safeguards.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California's top oil and gas regulators repeatedly warned Gov. Jerry Brown's senior aides in 2011 that the governor's orders to override key safeguards in granting oil industry permits would violate state and federal laws protecting the state's groundwater from contamination, one of the former officials has testified.

Brown fired the regulators on Nov. 3, 2011, one day after what the fired official says was a final order from the governor to bypass safety provisions of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in granting permits to oil companies for oilfield injection wells. Brown later boasted publicly that the dismissals led to a speed-up of oilfield permitting.


BP seeks to get back some Gulf oil spill business payouts

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Attorneys for BP told a federal appeals court Thursday that the company should be able to get back some of the money it paid in economic damage claims to businesses and individuals under a settlement arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

After the 2012 settlement was approved, BP argued that the claims administrator had not been correctly matching business' revenues and expenses, resulting in overpayments. A court eventually ordered a new calculation method but refused to order restitution of payments already made.


Oil spill closes portion of Mississippi River

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard says part of the Mississippi River has been closed as crews investigate and clean up an oil spill caused by the collision of two tow boats.

The Coast Guard says the collision Wednesday evening near Paducah, Kentucky, damaged at least one barge carrying clarified slurry oil. The cargo tank was ruptured, causing an unknown amount of oil to spill into the river.


BP seeks restitution of some Gulf oil spill claims

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — BP is going back to a federal appeals court in a case involving businesses' damage claims from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil giant wants restitution of some of the money it paid in claims to businesses as part of a 2012 settlement. BP eventually won a revision in the way losses were calculated after arguing the settlement claims administrator wasn't correctly matching business's revenues and expenses.


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