"Despite Reports, Response Slow To Danger of Oil Fires on Rail Tankers"

"WASHINGTON -- Five years before a train loaded with crude oil derailed and exploded last year in Quebec, killing 47 people, another derailment in Oklahoma should have given federal regulators an early warning that the type of oil both trains carried was more flammable than authorities realized."

"But little has been done to improve the safety of tens of thousands of railroad tank cars that have been pressed into service in recent years to haul large quantities of crude oil and ethanol.

The rail industry supports tougher safety requirements for new and existing tank cars, including thicker shells, puncture-resistant shields and stronger valve fittings to prevent spills and fires if the cars should derail. But new rules have been delayed amid concern about the estimated $1 billion cost of making the changes and the time it would take amid a surge in profitable shipments."

Curtis Tate reports for McClatchy Washington Bureau January 2, 2014.

Source: McClatcht, 01/06/2014