Environmental groups sue to halt delivery of crude oil in old rail cars
Two environmental groups have filed suit against the U.S. Department of Transportation in attempts to halt the delivery of crude oil in old rail tank cars that are prone to puncture.
More from the Associated Press:
The lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club and ForestEthics says the agency failed to respond to a legal petition the groups filed in July. That petition sought an emergency order to prohibit crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana and elsewhere from being carried in older tank cars, known as DOT-111s.
A spokesman with the Department of Transportation, Kevin Thompson, declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.
A boom in oil production from the Bakken Shale has resulted in increased traffic on American rail lines. Mile-long unit trains are bringing hundreds of tanker cars full of crude to coastal refineries, including facilities in Philadelphia and Delaware.
However, the crude-by-rail boom has also caused a surge in accidents, including an explosive derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec that left 47 people dead in July 2013. In January, tanker cars slid off the tracks of a rail bridge in Philadelphia.
Over the last year, the federal government has moved to make shipping oil by rail safer. In July, the federal government proposed new rules to replace thousands of older tank cars by 2017.
According to the Associated Press, the environmental groups asked a federal appeals court to order the U.S. DOT to respond to their petition within 30 days.