Exclusive: U.S., Canada transport chiefs to meet on oil train safety

Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:00pm EST
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By Patrick Rucker and David Ljunggren

WASHINGTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) - Top transportation officials from Canada and the United States are due to meet next week to hash out differences about safety regulations for trains that carry oil, sources familiar with the planned meeting said on Thursday.

Both governments are drafting safety rules for trains that move fuel from North Dakota's Bakken energy patch to refineries.

North Dakota crude was the cargo involved in several fiery mishaps in the last 18 months, and a derailment disaster that left 47 dead in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, in July 2013.

That crash involved old-style DOT-111 tanker cars that Canada wants taken off the tracks by May 2017. U.S. companies may have trouble complying with that date, and a U.S. plan envisions many of those cars hauling fuel through late 2020.

Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt is due to host U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in Toronto on Dec. 18 to talk about rail tanker safety, according to two sources familiar with the plan.

A spokeswoman for Raitt said the meeting was not yet 100 percent guaranteed to happen.

"I can only say that, assuming they meet, rail safety will

be one of a few topics discussed," she said, but declined to give more details.   Continued...

A crude oil train moves past the loading rack at the Eighty-Eight Oil LLC's transloading facility in Ft. Laramie, Wyoming July 15, 2014. REUTERS/Rick Wilking