Regulators Face Growing Pressure After Oil-by-Rail Accidents

Scorched oil tankers remain on July 10, 2013 at the train derailment site in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Edward Bukhardt, CEO of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railways Inc.,(MMA) told reporters Wednesday that the train was left running while the engineer spent the night sleeping in a hotel in Nantes, adding that the engineer was following standard 'industry practice.' The train carrying crude oil from North Dakota derailed in the town of Lac-Megantic overnight Friday, causing a massive fire and explosions that killedat least 15 people, with another 45 still missing.
National Journal
Ben Geman
Jan. 9, 2014, 12:29 p.m.

A grow­ing circle of law­makers is put­ting pres­sure on the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion to boost the safety of rail­way ship­ments of crude oil fol­low­ing a string of ac­ci­dents.

The chair­men of two Sen­ate com­mit­tees wrote to Trans­port­a­tion Sec­ret­ary An­thony Foxx and En­ergy Sec­ret­ary Ern­est Mon­iz on Thursday about “alarm­ing” ac­ci­dents that de­mand “in­creased vi­gil­ance.”

“We urge you to work to­geth­er to quickly re­solve is­sues with the trans­port­a­tion of crude oil in or­der to pro­tect our com­munit­ies, and pre­vent any fur­ther dis­asters,” states the let­ter from Sen­ate En­ergy and Nat­ur­al Re­sources Com­mit­tee Chair­man Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen­ate Com­merce Chair­man Jay Rock­e­feller, D-W.Va.

The let­ter cites the latest ac­ci­dent — a de­rail­ment and fire this week in New Brun­swick, Canada — as well as last week’s in­ferno in North Dakota, and the de­rail­ment and ex­plo­sions that claimed 47 lives in Que­bec in Ju­ly.

Else­where, North Dakota’s sen­at­ors met Thursday with Foxx and Cyn­thia Quarter­man, head of the Pipeline and Haz­ard­ous Ma­ter­i­als Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion (PHMSA).

Law­makers are press­ing for steps in­clud­ing com­ple­tion of a Trans­port­a­tion De­part­ment reg­u­la­tion that would set new re­quire­ments for rail-tanker safety.

“The Sec­ret­ary in­formed the Sen­at­ors that he is call­ing the rail CEOs and the head of the Amer­ic­an Pet­ro­leum In­sti­tute to ask that they work with [Fed­er­al Rail­road Ad­min­is­tra­tion] and PHMSA to identi­fy what they’re do­ing to pro­mote safety when trans­port­ing crude oil, es­pe­cially in the Bakken re­gion, and to see what they can do to work along­side the De­part­ment to main­tain our safety re­cord even as crude oil pro­duc­tion in the Bakken re­gion has in­creased,” the de­part­ment said in a sum­mary of the meet­ing.

Foxx is set­ting up a meet­ing with in­dustry of­fi­cials, and he plans to an­nounce oth­er steps in com­ing weeks, ac­cord­ing to the de­part­ment meet­ing sum­mary that also noted on­go­ing work on the rail-tanker reg­u­la­tion.

Use of rail­ways to move crude oil is in­creas­ing along­side the U.S. drilling boom.

What We're Following See More »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

TAKATA RECALLS COULD TAKE YEARS TO COMPLETE
Airbag Recalls Target 12 Million Automobiles
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identified on Friday the makes and models of 12 million cars and motorcycles that have been recalled because of defective air bag inflators made by Japanese supplier Takata. The action includes 4.3 million Chryslers; 4.5 million Hondas; 1.6 million Toyotas; 731,000 Mazdas; 402,000 Nissans; 383,000 Subarus; 38,000 Mitsubishis; and 2,800 Ferraris. ... Analysts have said it could take years for all of the air bags to be replaced. Some have questioned whether Takata can survive the latest blow."

Source:
INVESTIGATION LEADS TO LEAKER’S RESIGNATION
Secret Service Disciplines 41 Agents Over Chaffetz Leak
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says 41 Secret Service agents have been disciplined in the fallout of an investigation over the agency's leak of personnel files. The leaker, who has resigned, released records showing that Oversight and Government Reform Chair Jason Chaffetz—who was leading an investigation of Secret Service security lapses—had applied for a job at the agency years before. The punishments include reprimands and suspension without pay. "Like many others I was appalled by the episode reflected in the Inspector General’s report, which brought real discredit to the Secret Service," said Johnson.

Source:
AKNOWLEDGING THE INEVITABLE
UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Source:
AP KEEPING COUNT
Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Source:
×