Lawmakers to Press Federal Officials, Industry on Oil-Train Risks

CULVER CITY, CA - APRIL 25: Oil rigs extract petroleum as the price of crude oil rises to nearly $120 per barrel, prompting oil companies to reopen numerous wells across the nation that were considered tapped out and unprofitable decades ago when oil sold for one-fifth the price or less, on April 25, 2008 in the Los Angeles area community of Culver City, California. Many of the old unprofitable wells, known as 'stripper wells', are located in urban areas where home owners are often outraged by the noise, smell, and possible environmental hazards associated with living so close to renewed oil drilling. Since homeowners usually do not own the mineral rights under their land, oil firms can drill at an angle to go under homes regardless of the desires of residents. Using expensive new technology and drilling techniques, California producers have reversed a long decline of about 5 percent annually with an increased crude flow of about 2 1/2 million barrels in 2007 for the first time in years. 
National Journal
Add to Briefcase
Ben Geman
Feb. 26, 2014, 12:38 a.m.

Wed­nes­day brings the first Cap­it­ol Hill hear­ing on the risks of ship­ping crude oil on rail­ways since a string of re­cent ac­ci­dents has promp­ted reg­u­lat­ors to toughen over­sight of the grow­ing prac­tice.

The Trans­port­a­tion De­part­ment, on the eve of the House hear­ing, an­nounced new test­ing and clas­si­fic­a­tion man­dates for ship­ment of oil from North Dakota’s boom­ing Bakken re­gion.

Re­u­ters sets the table for the hear­ing with a story that ex­plores what law­makers plan to ask fed­er­al reg­u­lat­ors and in­dustry of­fi­cials.

“The pres­sure and volat­il­ity of these ship­ments have not been get­ting enough at­ten­tion,” said Rep. Rick Larsen, a Wash­ing­ton state Demo­crat, in the Re­u­ters story.

Bloomberg looks at the Trans­port­a­tion De­part­ment’s new test­ing and ship­ping man­dates here, and quotes an of­fi­cial with a rail-ser­vices com­pany who says the re­quire­ments could worsen the short­age of tanker cars.

But a lob­by­ist for the re­fin­ing com­pany Te­soro tells The Wall Street Journ­al that re­finers ap­plaud the new re­quire­ments.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.