TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Calls for tougher tanker rules intensify with Va. derailment

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Thursday, May 1, 2014, 7:57 p.m.
 

LYNCHBURG, Va. — The latest in a string of fiery oil-train wrecks brought renewed demands on Thursday that the Obama administration quickly tighten regulations governing the burgeoning practice of transporting highly combustible crude by rail.

With production booming in the Bakken oil field along the American northern tier and in Canada, some experts claim stronger rules to head off a catastrophe are long overdue. However, drafting and approving regulations can take months or years, an elaborate process that involves time to study potential changes and a public comment period before anything is adopted.

In the latest crash, a CSX train carrying Bakken crude from North Dakota derailed on Wednesday in downtown Lynchburg, sending three tanker cars into the James River and shooting flames and black smoke into the air. No one was injured, but the wreck prompted an evacuation and worried residents and officials.

There have been eight other significant accidents in the United States and Canada in the past year involving trains hauling crude, and some of them caused considerable damage and deaths, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Bakken crude ignites more easily than other types.

The NTSB and members of Congress have been urging the Transportation Department to work swiftly on standards that would make tanker cars more rugged.

“Everybody is waiting on them and expecting some significant action,” Grady Cothen, a former Federal Railroad Administration official, said after Wednesday's wreck. “It's a front-and-center concern on the part of everybody in rail transportation.”

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has told lawmakers that regulators are working as quickly as they can to get tougher tanker car regulations written and approved.

But he said some oil companies have failed to provide the data he requested, and he complained that the agency within his department that regulates flammable liquids is understaffed.

“We have a million shipments of hazardous materials moving around this country every day, and we have 50 inspectors,” Foxx said recently.

The cause of the wreck is under investigation by the NTSB. CSX said it is cooperating fully.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Obama to mandate steeper emissions cuts from power plants
  2. 2 women advance to final phase of Army Ranger training
  3. State Department accuses top Clinton aide of violations
  4. Body of Forest Service firefighter recovered amid Northern California blaze
  5. U.S., Hong Kong researchers develop computer model to examine spread of influenza
  6. Pressure mounts for Biden to join 2016 White House race
  7. Marines finally ready to roll out controversial fighter jet
  8. Food industry players fighting proposed dietary guidelines drop millions on lobbyists
  9. ‘Fast, Furious’ pistol was sold to gunman in foiled Texas terrorist attack
  10. 4 dead, 65 sickened in Bronx by Legionella
  11. Obama’s nuclear deal lobbying sways Democrats