Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county
Sierra Club, Other Groups File Federal Lawsuit to Curb Unsafe Oil Trains
Seven environmental groups including Sierra Club filed a lawsuit on May 14 in Washington DC challenging safety rules issued this month for trains carrying oil, arguing that the regulations are too weak to protect the public.
The groups said the new rules would allow the industry to continue to use "unsafe tank cars" for up to 10 years. They also said the rules failed to set adequate speed limits for oil trains.
The United States and Canada issued the safety standards in response to a string of explosive accidents that have accompanied a surge in crude-by-rail shipments. Because of a 40-fold increase in crude-by-rail transport since 2008, derailments and spills have been on a steep rise. In 2013 more crude oil was spilled from trains than in the previous four decades combined, and in 2014 there were more oil train accidents than in any other year on record.
In their filing, the groups asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to force the Transportation Department to reconsider the "unduly long phaseout period" for these tank cars, as well as the speed limit and public notification requirements in the rule.
Oil trains are a hot issue locally as there has been a state-wide firestorm of protest over Phillips 66's proposal to transport Canadian crude oil from Richmond through several counties including Monterey County to an oil refinery in San Luis Obispo.