Information sharing on oil trains proposed by US regulators

Oil trains

New rules concerning oil trains were released by the Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration one month after a fiery derailment in Oregon.  Twitter photo.

Oil trains info to be shared with local governments, emergency responders

WASHINGTON, July 13 (Reuters) – U.S. regulators on Wednesday proposed a rule on oil trains that requires railroads to share information on the shipments with local governments and emergency responders, a month after a fiery derailment of an oil train along Oregon’s scenic Columbia River gorge.

The rule proposed by the Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration would require railroads to provide monthly reports to state and tribal firefighter commissions and emergency responders.

In the reports, railroads would have to include estimates of the number of so-called high hazard flammable trains expected to travel through counties in states, and the routes for the trains. The rule will soon be published in the Federal Register, but it was not immediately clear when it was expected to be finalized.

“Railroads must continue to do everything possible to prevent an incident from occurring and strategically prepare in case one does,” FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg said in a statement.

Since 2008, there have been at least 10 major oil train derailments across the United States and Canada, including a disaster that killed 47 people in a Quebec town in July 2013.

Nearly a dozen rail cars in a 96-car Union Pacific train carrying crude derailed and burst into flames on June 3 in Oregon about 70 miles (110) km from Portland. No injuries were reported, but the accident, the first major one of its kind this year, rekindled oil-by-rail safety concerns.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; editing by Grant McCool)

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