Image courtesy of East Coast Drone via YouTube

The United States Department of Transportation announced new emergency measures Wednesday for trains carrying Bakken crude.

The DOT will require all railroads to notify State Emergency Response Commissions on the operations of trains in their states carrying more than 1 million gallons of Bakken crude.

Last week, a CSX train carrying Bakken crude derailed in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia, with some tank cars exploding into flames. No one was killed or injured.

The DOT order didn’t require elimination of older tanker cars, particularly the DOT-111 general transport models.

The 17 cars that derailed in Lynchburg last week were DOT-111s.

“Effective immediately, any train hauling 1 million gallons of Bakken crude oil, or about 35 tank cars, in a particular state must provide notification to the SERC regarding expected movement, volume, frequency and routes of these trains,” the News Advance said.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: “The safety of our nation’s railroad system, and the people who live along rail corridors is of paramount concern.”

Bakken oil is lighter and more flammable than most crude.

CSX said, “We appreciate the Department of Transportation’s [USDOT] continued focus on our shared responsibility for making shipments safer and recognize that the additional volumes of oil being carried require additional safety considerations.”

Also on Wednesday, the DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a safety advisory recommending companies shipping Bakken crude to use cars “with the highest level of integrity available” in their fleet.

A Bakken crude train derailed and exploded last July in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, killing 47 people.

The Association of American Railroads said crude oil transport by rail has gone up from 65,751 carloads in 2011 to 233,698 in 2012 and about 400,000 in 2013 on Class I railroads.

The train in Lynchburg had 105 cars. Of those, 17 derailed and three of those ended up in the adjacent James River. One tank car in the river breached. Most of the spill was contained with oil booms.

After the Lynchburg derailment, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Timothy Kaine from Virginia asked the DOT to eliminate the use of older tank cars, including the DOT-111.


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