Tag Archives: American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association

Rail groups push feds to drop Bakken oil rule

Repost from The Columbian

Rail groups push feds to drop Bakken oil rule

Transportation says notifying safety officials reasonable
By Curtis Tate, Tribune News Service, October 6, 2014
Virginia emergency responders learn about the types of railroad tank cars in a safety class Monday at a CSX yard in Richmond, Va. About 66 first responders, including firefighters, participated in the daylong event. CSX uses its safety train to train first responders in communities where it hauls large volumes of crude oil. (Curtis Tate/MCT)

WASHINGTON — Two railroad industry trade groups have quietly asked the U.S. Department of Transportation to drop its requirement that rail carriers transporting large volumes of Bakken crude oil notify state emergency officials.

The railroads have maintained that they already provide communities with adequate information about hazardous materials shipments and that public release of the data could harm the industry from a security and business standpoint. But they haven’t been successful in convincing numerous states or the federal government.

On Friday, the Federal Railroad Administration published a notice in the Federal Register concluding that the Bakken train data isn’t sensitive on either a security or commercial basis, nor is it protected from disclosure by any federal law.

“At this time, DOT finds no basis to conclude that the public disclosure of the information is detrimental to transportation safety,” the notice said.

Bakken crude oil, from the Upper Great Plains, is extracted from shale rock through hydraulic fracturing, and it has been involved in multiple accidents that resulted in large spills and fires. A July 2013 derailment in Quebec killed 47 people.

Friday’s notice came in response to a letter Aug. 29 from the Association of American Railroads and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association. The trade groups requested that the department withdraw its May 7 emergency order requiring railroads to notify states of cargoes of 1 million gallons or more of Bakken crude oil.

The DOT is seeking to make the order permanent. Initially, the railroads asked states to sign agreements that would exempt the information from open records laws, and many complied. Others refused, finding no reason the reports shouldn’t be shared publicly.

Copies of the notifications that news organizations obtained from those states show the counties the shipments traverse, the names of the routes and the approximate number of trains per week that met the department’s reporting threshold.

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    Canada Announces Rules for Transporting Dangerous Goods by Rail

    Repost from The Wall Street Journal

    New Measures Mandate Tank Cars That Carry Crude Oil to Be Built with Thicker Steel Walls

    By David George-Cosh, June 27, 2014

    TORONTO—Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced new rules Friday aimed at bolstering safety measures for transporting dangerous goods, such as crude oil, over the country’s railway networks.

    The new measures include updating safety-reporting requirements for rail companies operating in Canada, mandating tank cars that carry volatile crude be built with thicker steel walls, and improving data-reporting requirements for railways.

    Canadian and U.S. regulators have urged the rail industry to improve safety measures after several recent accidents involving trains carrying crude, including last year’s derailment of a crude-carrying train in rural Quebec in July, which killed 47 people.

    “Our government is committed to railway safety and the safe movement of dangerous goods,” Ms. Raitt said in a statement. “The upcoming regulations will further strengthen safety in Canada’s already robust transportation system.”

    A spokesman for Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.  said the company was reviewing the announcement and that it has a “strong” set of existing safety measures it discloses to the federal government.

    Jim Feeny, a spokesman from Canadian National Railway Co. said that its position on safety disclosure “largely aligns” with the federal government’s proposals, but it was also reviewing the announced measures.

    The new rules announced Friday will include amendments to legislation to require DOT-111 tank cars to abide by new standards such as thicker steel walls and better top protection to reduce spills in a derailment.

    The ministry will also require the country’s short-line railroads to upgrade their safety-management disclosure by providing Transport Canada with the same reports on safety risks that the country’s major rails provide. The proposal affects 35 railways in Canada, Transport Canada said.

    Transport Canada is also requesting that Canada-based railroads provide measurable data such as maintenance and repair records to the federal government that could better address safety risks before they occur.

    Friday’s measures follow a series of steps Ms. Raitt announced in April to improve rail transport in response to recommendations made by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada after its investigation of last year’s Lac-Mégantic tragedy.

    The federal government also ordered older DOT-111 tank cars to be phased out or retrofitted in three years, and added a requirement that all crude oil shipments include emergency response plans.

    It is unclear how many DOT-111 cars operate in Canada, but the Association of American Railroads and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association says that there are 228,000 general-purpose tank cars in service in the U.S. known as DOT-111s.

    The U.S. has adopted tougher classification standards for shipping crude-by-rail that but hasn’t curbed the use of older DOT-111 tank cars on the country’s tracks despite last year’s deadly accident in Quebec and more recently, a fiery derailment in Lynchberg, Va.

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      What they are thinking and planning: Crude By Rail Conference & Expo

      Repost from Railway Age
      [Editor: A Benicia Independent reader sent me an email notification of this Conference, suggesting that it might be instructive for one of us to attend.  Anyone with time and money available to go?  – RS]

      June 12 & 13, 2014  |  Key Bridge Marriott  |  Arlington, VA
      · Moving CBR Profitably — and Safely ·

      Crude by Rail (CBR) is a rapidly growing source of traffic for the railroads, as well
      as a key driver of new freight car construction for carbuilders and component suppliers. Because of recent serious accidents, CBR is also under heavy scrutiny by safety and regulatory agencies.

      Railway Age’s Crude By Rail Conference & Expo focuses on moving CBR not just safely,
      but also profitably.

      Speakers include:
      CBR Speakers675
      Join these and other industry experts to discuss:
      •  Safety & Regulations •  New-Gen Tank Cars
      •  Traffic Trends •  First Responder Training
      •  Tank Car Financing & Leasing •  Insurance & Liability

      Who should attend?
      •  Railroad transportation & operating personnel •  Government personnel
      •  Carbuilders and component suppliers •  Crude oil producers & refiners
      •  Consultants •  First responders
      View the full agenda now, including confirmed speakers and topics.
       
      REGISTER-BUTTON

      Gold SponsorGenesee & Wyoming Supporting organizationsRailWorks   The Greenbrier Companies  AAR
      Contact us:   Tel. 212.620.7208 / 212.620.7205 | conferences@sbpub.com | @RailwayAgeEvent
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