Oil and railroad companies want federal regulators to give them up to seven years to beef up their existing stock of oil tank cars that transport crude oil. The current tank cars have ruptured in serious derailments in the recent past, one of which occurred in Lynchburg, Virginia (VA).
According to Jack Gerard of the American Petroleum Institute last week, industry is asking the Department of Transportation for six to 12 months to retrofit tens of thousands of tankers, and three more years to retrofit even older cars. Industry also wants three more years to retrofit other newer tank cars.
DOT in Washington is mulling tougher safety rules for rail shipments of oil. Some of the options under consideration include stronger cars, slower train speed limits, and better braking systems.
Last July, DOT proposed that the older cars be retrofitted in 24 months. But the longer timeline being requested is needed to allow the car
manufacturers to expand operations while still building new cars, according to Gerard.
Since 2008, there have been at least 10 major derailments in Canada and the US, where crude oil has spilled from tank cars in a derailment. The worst occurred in Lac-Megantic in Quebec, which killed 47 in July 2013.