The oil industry’s lead trade group has come up with new standards for testing and classifying crude shipped by rail.
As with earlier orders from the American government, the industry’s standards generally leave it to individual companies to decide how often to test crude in order to gauge its danger.
Hazardous-materials shipments are supposed to be classified into one of nine categories depending on the risk involved. If the materials are misclassified, they could wind up being shipped in less protective rail tank cars. If something goes wrong, emergency personnel might not follow the proper procedures when responding to a spill.
The oil in the train that derailed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec and killed 47 people was misclassified in a category that equates to minor danger.
The American Petroleum Institute said the standards were crafted in cooperation with regulators and the rail industry. The Association of American Railroads supports the oil industry’s standards, which needs approval from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
(source: The Oregonian)