Derailment after derailment. They just keep happening.

Since early February, there have been at least six train 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.

 

After the deadly Amtrak crash in Philadelphia on Tuesday, reporters tried to find out if the accident occurred near oil tank cars on an adjacent track. After hours of speculation, a spokesman for Conrail, the company that owns the yard where the tankers reside, made a statement that there was no crude oil in the cars. But PublicSource and StateImpact Pennsylvania posed the question: What if there had been?

No crude oil in tank cars near Amtrak crash … but what if there had been?

 

In an anticipated move, the U.S. oil industry filed a court challenge against new rules recently announced by federal regulators to improve crude-by-rail safety. The industry wants more time to retrofit and replace tank cars that have been involved in several recent fiery train accidents across North America and for a court to throw out new requirements for advanced braking systems, according to the Associated Press. 

Oil industry challenges rules meant to stop train explosions.

 

And shortly after the oil industry challenged the rules, environmental groups also filed suit opposing them. Earthjustice and other groups say the new regulations fail to protect Americans from dangerous crude-oil trains by allowing unsafe tankers to remain on the tracks for far too long, according to The Huffington Post.

Environmental groups sue over oil train rules, cite Amtrak crash.

 

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

This fact-based local reporting drives impact and creates change. Help power that impact.

James Baldwin wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” PublicSource exists to help the Pittsburgh region face its realities and create opportunities for change. When we shine a light on inequity in our region, like the “completely unacceptable” conditions in low-income housing in McKeesport, things change. When we ask questions about policymakers’ decisions, like how Allegheny County is handling COVID-19 safety for its employees, things change. When we push for transparency on issues that affect the public, like in the use of facial recognition software by Pittsburgh police, things change.

It takes a lot of time, skill and resources to produce journalism like this. Our stories are always made available for free so that they can benefit the most people, regardless of ability to pay. But as an independent, nonprofit newsroom, we count on donations from our readers to support this crucial work. Can you make a contribution of any amount (or better yet, set up a recurring monthly gift) to help ensure we can continue to report on what matters and tell stories for a better Pittsburgh?

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...