WASHINGTON May 14 Seven environmental groups
filed a lawsuit on Thursday challenging safety rules issued
earlier this month for trains carrying oil, arguing the
regulations are too weak to protect the public.
The groups, including the Sierra Club and Center for
Biological Diversity, charge that the rules, issued on May 1,
will allow industry to continue to use "unsafe tank cars" for up
to 10 years and fail to set adequate speed limits for oil
"We're suing the administration because these rules won't
protect the 25 million Americans living in the oil train blast
zone," said Todd Paglia, executive director for ForestEthics,
one of the groups bringing the lawsuit.
The United States and Canada issued the safety standards in
response to the string of explosive accidents that have
accompanied a surge in crude-by-rail shipments.
Under the rules, tank cars built before October 2011 known
as DOT-111 will be phased out within three years. DOT-111 tank
cars are considered prone to puncture during accidents,
increasing the risk of fire and explosions.
Tank cars without reinforced hulls built after October 2011
and known as CPC-1232 will be phased out by 2020.
In their filing, the green groups asked the 9th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals to force the Transportation Department to
reconsider the "unduly long phase-out period" for these tank
cars, as well as the speed limit and public notification
requirements in the rule.
While environmentalists have argued the phase-out for the
tank cars is too long, energy and rail groups have raised
concerns that the time allotted to switch over tank cars is not
The American Petroleum Institute filed a lawsuit on Monday
in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit that challenges the timetable for retrofitting rail cars
and requirements for electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP)
The new regulations are expected to cost an estimated $2.5
billion to implement over the next two decades, two-thirds of
that to retrofit or retire existing tank cars, according to
estimates contained in the rules.
The case is Sierra Club, et al v. Secretary of
Transportation, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, No.
(Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe)