Oil Refiners Say Fed Train Safety Plan Not Feasible

May 1, 2015

The leading voice for the refining sector on Thursday said it was not realistic for U.S. regulators to expect existing oil train tankers to be retired within five years, and sought a meeting with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

“The emphasis on tank car modifications through an overly aggressive and infeasible retrofit schedule creates the incorrect perception that tanks car improvements are the magic remedy,” Charles Drevna, the president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers wrote.

On Friday, the U.S. Transportation Department and Transport Canada are expected to outline a cross-border oil train safety plan.

North Dakota’s Bakken energy fields rely on oil trains to reach distant refineries but several such shipments have derailed in fiery mishaps in the last two years. Regulators have struggled with how to make such cargo safer without cramping a major source of domestic energy.

Oil and fuel transportation tank carsDrevna’s letter urged regulators to consider other steps to reduce accidents besides stronger railcars. For instance, he said focusing more resources on track maintenance and repair could help reduce accidents, as could taking steps to reduce human error.

“When making safety recommendations for air transport, the NTSB doesn’t recommend that … indestructible planes,” the letter said. “Instead, the focus is on preventing errors like mid-air collisions, runway incursions and pilot error.”

The NTSB is an independent federal agency that investigates accidents and recommends safety improvements.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.