US chides oil shippers on derailment data requests

Still from video of train derailment in Lynchburg, Va.
Source: Micah Gaudio | YouTube

Oil-by-rail shippers have mostly ignored requests from officials seeking data to prevent dangerous mishaps on the tracks, the U.S. Department of Transportation said on Friday in a posting on its website.

Reports on test samples so far have come from ExxonMobil, Savage Companies and Continental Resources, the DOT agency said. Regulators are eyeing North Dakota's energy patch, known as the Bakken, which was the origin of several doomed shipments such as this week's derailment in Lynchburg, Virginia in which several tank cars jumped the tracks and burst into flames.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx last week urged many Bakken shippers to share data with authorities on fuel moving on the tracks.

"We lack comprehensive data about the characteristics of this product,'' Foxx wrote in a letter. "We therefore renew our request to companies such as yours.''

The Department of Transportation this week sent to the White House's Office of Management and Budget a proposed rule to improve tank car standards for trains carrying highly flammable materials.

--By Reuters