Rail rules need further review, North Dakota says

Industry discounts proposals altogether.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   July 24, 2014 at 10:42 AM
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BISMARCK, N.D., July 24 (UPI) -- North Dakota's governor said new proposals for oil train safety need review, while the industry itself said concerns over North Dakota's oil are without merit.

The U.S. Department of Transportation rolled out a 200-page proposal outlining ways to make crude oil transport by rail safer. Within two years, the proposal calls for the elimination of older rail cars designated DOT 111 for shipment of flammable liquid, "including most Bakken crude oil."

A series of derailments, including last year's deadly accident in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, involved trains carrying Bakken crude oil from North Dakota.

There aren't enough pipelines in service to handle the glut of oil from North Dakota, which industry officials say leaves rail as the primary transit method.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple said the new proposals address several key areas of rail safety that are in need of improvement.

"Still, we need to further review the specifics of the proposed rules to determine if they are workable and offer the best opportunities for improved rail safety," he said in a statement Wednesday.

The American Petroleum Institute, which represents the interests of the energy industry, said Bakken flammability concerns are not backed by science.

"DOT needs to get this right and make sure that its regulations are grounded in facts and sound science, not speculation," API Chief Executive Officer Jack Gerard said in a statement.

U.S. regulators in January issued an advisory warning Bakken crude oil may be more prone to catch fire than other grades.

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