Tag Archives: Transport Minister Lisa Raitt

CANADA: DOT-111 tank cars can’t transport crude oil as of Nov. 1

Repost from Sudbury.com

Garneau confirms DOT-111 cars will not be able to transport crude oil as of November 1

By Canadian Press, Jul 26, 2016 8:26 AM
Candian Transport Minister Marc Garneau

MONTREAL — Canada will put a stop to the transport of crude oil by older and less crash-resistant tanker rail cars earlier than scheduled, Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced Monday, however, the timeline for ending similar transportation of all other flammable liquids remains the same.

As of Nov. 1, crude oil in Canada will no longer be transported in DOT-111 tankers — the same kind of rail car that was involved in the Lac-Megantic tragedy in which 47 people died three years ago.

The DOT-111 cars without thermal layers of protection were scheduled to be phased out for the use of crude oil by the previous Conservative government by May 2017.

DOT-111s with thermal protection were to be taken off for oil transport by March 2018.

The new directives are for crude oil only, Garneau said, adding the phase-out deadline for DOT-111s carrying other flammable liquids is 2025.

Garneau said while he was able to accelerate the phase-out of DOT-111s for crude, the government needs to be “realistic” about other materials.

“The reality is that in this country we transport a huge amount by rail — hundreds of billions of dollars worth a year — and you can’t do everything in one shot,” he told a news conference.

“Here we have the opportunity to do something very concrete on the crude oil side — which is extremely important — and I am very proud of it.”

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said in its report on the Lac-Megantic crash that until older and less crash-resistant tanker cars “are no longer used to transport flammable liquids and a more robust tank car standard with enhanced protection is set for North America, the risk will remain.”

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre saluted Garneau’s announcement, saying “when we talk about (rail) safety we have to show it, we have to walk the talk.”

Vicki Balance with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said the oil industry knew the Liberals were considering making changes but didn’t know what they were going to be.

“(The announcement) brings some certainty and predictability for us, which is positive,” she said.

On July 6, 2013, a runaway freight train pulling 72 crude-oil laden DOT-111s derailed and exploded, killing 47 people and destroying part of downtown Lac-Megantic.

In response, the U.S. and Canada created a series of new regulations to make rail transport of hazardous materials safer.

Former Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and her U.S. counterpart Anthony Foxx in May 2015 announced new regulations for tanker cars made after Oct. 1 of that year, for transporting liquid dangerous goods across the continent.

The new cars, known as TC-177s in Canada, are made of thicker steel than the DOT-111s and have other added safety measures.

Raitt and Fox also announced that all DOT-111s would have to retrofitted or phased out for the use of crude oil by 2018 and all other rail cars transporting any dangerous, flammable liquid would have to meet new safety requirements by 2025.

Garneau said Monday the new rules will only apply to Canada.

He said no DOT-111 train originating from the U.S. and carrying crude oil will be able to cross into Canada after Nov. 1, and violators will face financial penalties, but he didn’t say how much they would be.

Garneau said there are about 30,000 DOT-111s without a thermal layer transporting crude oil on railways in North America. He didn’t have a precise number for the cars with the protective layer.

Canada toughens train brake rules, to impose ‘audit blitz’

Repost from Yahoo News Canada

Canada toughens train brake rules, to impose ‘audit blitz’

By Richard Valdmanis | Reuters – 29 Oct, 2014
Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt holds a press conference in the Foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hilll in Ottawa on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Transportation Minister Lisa Raitt holds a press conference in the Foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hilll in Ottawa on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada has issued an emergency order to railways detailing how many handbrakes they must set on unattended trains to prevent deadly runaways, and will hire new staff to conduct an “audit blitz” of rail companies’ safety systems.

The changes are the latest in a slew of regulatory moves in North America since a train carrying crude oil crashed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, last year, killing 47 people and highlighting the dangers from a surge in oil transport by rail.

The announcement on Wednesday came in response to the Canadian Transportation Safety Board’s final report in August on the Lac-Megantic crash that found shortfalls in railway safety culture and federal oversight of the industry.

“We will always remember what happened in Lac-Megantic. I do believe that the measures that we are announcing today will improve railway safety, and make the transportation industry more accountable,” Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said.

Canada’s Conservative government has already imposed several new regulations in the wake of Lac-Megantic, including toughening tank car safety and requiring railways do risk assessments, produce emergency response plans, and improve the security of parked trains.

As part of the new rules, Transport Canada said railway operators had to test the handbrakes they set and use other “physical structures” to complement them.

(Full details of the announcement: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=897699)

In the Lac-Megantic crash, a train laden with light crude as volatile as gasoline had been left unattended on a main line several kilometers up a gentle slope. Investigators said the conductor had not set enough handbrakes and the airbrakes had been released after a fire broke out in the engine.

Transport Canada said it will hire about 10 new auditors and begin an “audit blitz” on railway companies’ safety systems. In some cases the regulator will also require rail companies, mainly short lines, to submit reports on how they train their staff, Raitt said.

Raitt said the government will bring in new monetary penalties for railways whose internal safety systems fall short. In its August report, the Transportation Safety Board found that Montreal, Maine and Atlantic, which operated the train that crashed in Lac-Megantic, had developed a safety management system in 2002, but had not fully implemented it.

The watchdog said Transport Canada needed to be more hands on with safety management systems, making sure they work rather than just check that they exist.

Transport Canada said it will also hire engineering and scientific experts to help research the properties of different kinds of crude oils carried by railways, and launch inspections to ensure they are properly labeled on trains.

“Crude oil is something that needs to be moved in the country,” Raitt said. “Our job is to make sure it is done in the safest way possible.”

(Additional reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Jeffreys Hodgson and Benkoe)