Groups File Petition to Stop Oil Transport in Older Railway Cars
Two groups have filed a petition, which could lead to a lawsuit, with the United States Department of Transportation to immediately stop the transport of crude oil in older railway cars. The groups are seeking an emergency order within 30 days. Potential Problems The petition, filed by the Sierra Club and ForestEthics, cites recent oil train accidents and explosions related to the rupture of older cars carrying crude oil. The groups hope to prohibit companies from transporting crude oil in older tank cars known as DOT-111s from the Bakken region of the Northern Plains. Currently, oil companies use about 66,000 of the tankers to haul flammable liquids and about 23,000 of them carry crude oil. Since 2008, derailments of oil trains in both the United States and Canada have caused the older cars to rupture and ignite. Last summer, a DOT-111 crashed in Quebec and exploded, killing 47 people, spawning many lawsuits. New Rules Proposed The Obama administration has said they will impose new rules later this month regarding tank cars that may require retrofitting of the older cars. However, the organizations that filed the petition say that it could take more than a year before the rule takes effect, and failure to act immediately could result in additional catastrophes like the one that occurred in Quebec. Lawsuits from the families of those who died and from those who were severely injured are still pending in that accident. Cited by Safety Advocates Safety advocates have cited problems with older tank cars for more than two decades. In April, the outgoing chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman, urged quicker action on laws related to older tank cars. She indicated that there could be more accidents like the one that occurred in Quebec without quick action. Companies are being advised to stop using the older cars, but the choice not to use them is voluntary at this time. Railway officials claim the cars are safe, despite the lawsuits filed after the Quebec incident. When a company uses a product that is determined to be unsafe and it is determined to be the cause or contributing factor in an accident that causes injury or death, a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit may be in order. Contact Dallas-Fort Worth lawyers at Frenkel & Frenkel to schedule a free initial consultation regarding an accident where injuries may have been caused or worsened by faulty machinery.