U.S. promises fresh look at oil train dangers, acknowledges test flaws

Tue Sep 9, 2014 1:03pm EDT
 
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WASHINGTON, Sept 9 (Reuters) - U.S. studies of oil train dangers may have underestimated the perils of volatile vapor on the tracks and officials will use precision instruments for more thorough tests in the future, a Transportation Department official said on Tuesday.

Officials have warned since January that flammable gas might be wrongly moving with crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken region but government studies have largely agreed with industry-funded reports that such fuel is fit to move in standard tank cars.

But previous studies were incomplete and future fuel samples will be drawn using a precision instrument known as a syringe cylinder that better detects flammable gas, said Timothy Butters of the Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

"PHMSA has purchased nine closed syringe-style cylinders and is collecting and sampling using these cylinders," Butters told a panel of the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. (Writing by Patrick Rucker; Editing by Bill Trott)