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Oil Train Safety Alert Issued

Railroads operating trains containing large amounts of Bakken crude oil must notify state emergency response commissions about the operation of these trains through their states, according to an emergency order issued by the US Department of Transportation.

The emergency order follows several recent oil train crashes, the most recent being a CSX train carrying Bakken crude oil that derailed and burst into flames in Virginia last week.

Additionally, DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a safety advisory “strongly urging those shipping or offering Bakken crude oil to use tank car designs with the highest level of integrity available in their fleets” and advising carriers “to the extent possible” to not use older legacy DOT Specification 111 or CTC 111 tank cars for the shipment of Bakken crude oil.

The Canadian government has also directed railroads to not use, or refit, the least crash-resistant, older-model DOT-111 tank cars from dangerous goods service within three years.

An analysis of the data by the Washington Post found railroads spilled 800,000 gallons of crude oil between 1975 and 2012. Last year, trains spilled more than 1.15 million gallons of crude oil.



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