"Crude-By-Rail's Surge Leaves Emergency Planning Oversight in the Dust"

"If an oil train explosion on the scale of last year's deadly crash in Quebec roiled a U.S. town, would railroads have enough emergency personnel and equipment ready to respond? In most cases, transportation regulators don't know."

"Railroads aren't required to file any emergency response plans with the Federal Railroad Administration unless they're using tank cars that can store more than 42,000 gallons of oil -- a metric that applies to just five containers nationwide. The thousands of model DOT-111 tank cars typically used to carry oil can hold only up to 34,500 gallons.

A series of recent oil train derailments have brought heightened scrutiny to the safety of moving crude by rail. But despite pledges for new rulemaking around the fast-growing business, current regulations leave transportation officials in the dark about how railroads would handle a worst-case scenario spill from 80- to 120-car 'unit trains' of crude."

Blake Sobczak reports for EnergyWire February 19, 2014.

Source: Energy, 02/20/2014