The type of horrific train explosion of Bakken crude in Fayette County, W.Va., February 16 might be prevented under new rules awaiting implementation by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Those rules were be to rolled out January 15, a month before the derailment that released more than 100,000 gallons of crude onto the ground. Unfortunately, says the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, the Office of Management and Budget has delayed the regulation and have given no firm date for their release, only than that the new safety rules will likely come in May 2015.
“The painful irony of this derailment is that the type of cars that exploded in Fayette County were once touted as the new safe cars,” said Angie Rosser, executive director of the coalition.
The Fayette County incident is similar to the Bakken crude oil train explosion and oil spill that occurred on the James River in Lynchburg on April 30, 2014, when 17 cars derailed and one ruptured spilling its contents into the river. According to rail carrier CSX, both incidents involved the newer CPC 1232 train cars—not the older DOT 111 model that has been much of the focus of safety concerns.
“Once again we are reminded that our rivers and communities are vulnerable when we don’t take sensible measures to protect them,” said Rosser.
The U.S. DOT is predicting at least ten major railroad accidents a year involving the shipment of crude oil due the 4,000 percent increase in oil shipments in the last five years. The proposed regulations, while not perfect, said Rosser would lead to a new generation of cars designed to withstand accidents.
“We also urge the Tomblin administration and West Virginia’s congressional representatives to call on the White House to complete their review of the new federal rail safety regulations so they may be implemented,” said Rosser. “We believe that immediate implementation of the strictest tank car standards proposed in the regulations is the rational option.”
West Virginia Rivers Coalition is heading to Capitol Hill March 5 for meetings with the WV congressional delegation. Sign our petition so we can personally deliver your message to Senators Manchin and Capito and Representatives McKinley, Jenkins and Mooney.