Derailment after derailment. They just keep happening.

Since early February, there have been numerous derailments in North America carrying crude from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale. These accidents have sparked increased calls from citizens, the rail industry and lawmakers for the federal government to increase safety regulations.

To keep up with these incidents and new safety regulations, PublicSource provides a roundup of stories every Friday.

Federal transportation bill includes crude oil safety measures

Pushed by lawmakers in states with heavy crude-by-rail traffic, the measures require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to give real-time information about crude oil shipments to state and local first responders; direct federal transportation regulators to speed up rules requiring railroads to submit plans on how they’ll respond to worst-case scenario spills; and fund a new study to look at how much insurance railroads should carry.

Railroads fought safety rules after a pair of 2012 train crashes killed two people

Two 2012 train accidents linked to worn rails prompted U.S. transportation officials to seek rules requiring standards for replacing worn-down rails. The Associated Press has found that major resistance from the railroad industry “killed that bid.” Now, following a fiery oil train crash in West Virginia earlier this year, federal railroad officials are renewing their efforts to establish rules for worn rails and say that they won’t let the railroad industry tamper their efforts.

Major crude hauler fined in Washington state for not reporting spills

BNSF Railway agreed to pay Washington state $71,000 in fines after the railroad company failed to report to state officials more than a dozen releases of hazardous materials, including crude oil, between Nov. 1, 2014, and Feb. 24, 2015.

New York rail inspectors find defects

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that state and federal railroads inspectors found more than 40 rail car and track defects across the state on crude-by-rail routes. The inspection blitzes are part of a statewide effort that targets inspections on oil train routes.

Reach Natasha Khan at or 412-315-0261. Follow her on Twitter @khantasha.

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Natasha is PublicSource's creative director. She runs the organizations visuals team, edits and produces interactive graphics, data visualizations and web packages for PublicSource. She manages the website...