After oil train accidents, more safety measures
After Pittsburgh and Philadelphia saw two trains carrying crude oil derail in dangerous accidents, the U.S. Department of Transportation is increasing safety regulations.
Within the first two months of the year, Pennsylvania saw two crude oil trains derail at opposite ends of the state, calling into question rail safety standards. As a result, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Association of American Railroads have agreed to to slow down train speeds through cities and increase infrastructure inspections. However, the changes will not be enforced until the summer.
In late January, a train headed to South Philadelphia to deliver crude oil crossed over Schuylkill River. Seven of its 101 cars derailed and crews were dispatched for days, working through a snow storm to extract oil and avoid possible spills or explosions above the river.
The accident wasn't the first in Pennsylvania this year. A train outside of Pittsburgh carrying crude oil also derailed earlier this month. The incident was more disastrous than Philadelphia's—derailed cars hit a steel mill and began leaking up to 7,500 gallons of crude oil, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.
A Philadelphia-based environmental group is not satisfied with the federal governments deal with rail companies. The group 'Protecting Our Waters' is calling for DOT-111 tank cars to be discontinued, arguing that the thin design could be easily punctured in the event of a derailing. The trains that derailed in Philadelphia that did not leak oil were not DOT-111 cars.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, a majority of tank cars are DOT 111 cars, which have been said to be "not effective in preventing impact damage."