Del. lawmakers eye safety of oil rail shipments

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 26, 2014 at 6:34 pm •  Published: March 26, 2014

DOVER, Del. (AP) — State lawmakers are working to ensure that increased rail shipments of oil to Delaware come with adequate safety and response measures.

Members of the House Energy quizzed industry officials Wednesday on safety and inspections standards for tanker cars bringing oil shipments to the Delaware City Refinery and for the tracks that carry them.

Lawmakers also heard from state and local emergency response officials on their ability to respond to a tanker derailment or fire.

Crude oil shipments by rail have increased dramatically in the United States in recent years. PBF Energy brings crude oil by train from various sources, including tar sands oil from Canada and oil fields in North Dakota, to a new rail loop it built near the Delaware City refinery.

The National Transportation Safety Board noted recently that crude oil shipments by rail have increased by more than 400 percent since 2005.

But the use of rail tank cars to ship crude oil has come under increasing scrutiny following deadly derailments in North Dakota and Quebec. Federal regulators have particularly focused on the design of older tanker cars involved in those accidents.

Herman Seedorf, head of refining for PBF and former manager of the Delaware City refinery, said the company plans to use new tanker cars built to higher safety standards that have been voluntarily adopted by the rail industry and which exceed what the current law requires.

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