Transportation Department regulators are proposing fines totaling $93,000 against three oil companies for alleged improper classification of crude oil bound for shipment on railways.
The violation notices announced Tuesday arrive amid safety concerns about growing use of railways to transport oil from North Dakota’s Bakken region, and follow several rail transport accidents in recent months.
“The fines we are proposing today should send a message to everyone involved in the shipment of crude oil: You must test and classify this material properly if you want to use our transportation system to ship it,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement Tuesday.
According to DOT, 11 of 18 samples taken from cargo tanks delivering crude oil to rail loading facilities were not assigned to the correct “packing group.” And that’s dangerous, regulators said.
“Shipping crude oil — or any hazardous material — without proper testing and classification could result in material being shipped in containers that are not designed to safely store it, or could lead first responders to follow the wrong protocol when responding to a spill,” DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said in announcing the alleged vioations.
PHMSA is issuing the notices of proposed violations to Hess Corporation, Whiting Oil and Gas Corporation, and Marathon Oil Company, the agency said Tuesday.
Regulators have stepped up oversight and last year launched an effort called “Operation Classification” to boost inspections and sampling. The findings unveiled Tuesday are the first announced test results of that probe.
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Investigations are never far from the Clintons, and here's another: At the behest of "dozens" of Republican lawmakers, the IRS is opening a fraud investigation into the Clinton Foundation."The move signals a shift from the IRS's announcement last year that it would not look into allegations of financial irregularities at the well-connected charity."
"Bickering commissioners, ineffective managers and lousy internal communication rank among the top reasons why the Federal Election Commission" has some of the worst morale in the federal government. That's the conclusion of an inspector general's report, which put "the most blame on the FEC’s six commissioners: three Democratic appointees and three Republican appointees who have regularly criticized one another and frequently (but not exclusively) deadlocked on high-profile political issues before them."
On Tuesday, Dennis Williams, the president of the United Auto Workers, said that Hillary Clinton has told him that she will renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement if elected president. Trade deals, especially NAFTA, have played a prominent role in the campaign, with Clinton receiving heat both from her Democratic rival Bernie Sanders and GOP nominee Donald Trump. The Clinton campaign did not comment on Williams's comments, though that didn't stop the Trump campaign from weighing in. Hillary Clinton "will never renegotiate Bill Clinton's NAFTA," said Stephen Miller, senior policy adviser to Trump.
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