"WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation collects relatively small civil penalties against the railroads it regulates, as concern grows over the safety of shipping large volumes of crude oil and ethanol in tank cars long known to be deficient, federal documents show."
"A McClatchy review of annual enforcement reports shows that the Federal Railroad Administration rarely fines any company more than $25,000, though it’s authorized to collect a maximum of $175,000 per violation. Some fines are as little as $250, and most settlements are substantially lower than the agency had first proposed.
Additional documents obtained by McClatchy reveal that the agency agreed to a $17,000 settlement in September 2010 with the Canadian National Railway over a June 2009 derailment in Cherry Valley, Ill. The accident killed one person, injured nine – including two firefighters – spilled more than 300,000 gallons of ethanol and caused the evacuation of more than 600 nearby residents."