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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada and the United States are "very close" to announcing stronger new oil tanker railcar standards, intended to limit disastrous fires and pollution when oil trains derail, Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said on Tuesday.
A spate of fiery accidents in the oil-by-rail industry has resulted in intense pressure on both governments. More oil is being shipped by rail due to burgeoning output in North America and a shortage of pipeline capacity.
"We've been working really diligently with the U.S. ... in terms of trying to get to the new tank safety standard, and I think we're really close to announcing what that looks like," Raitt told reporters after parliamentary testimony.
Canada had implemented its own temporary new standard, called CPC-1232, requiring a thicker tank, top-fitting protection and a pressure-relief system. The new binational regulations are expected to go further.
The cars involved in the most recent Canadian accident in northern Ontario on Saturday were CPC-1232s. Raitt said nine of them ruptured despite the stricter rules.
It was the third oil derailment by Canadian National Railway Co in the last month, and Raitt recommended that the House of Commons transport committee summon the company to explain its recent accidents.
"So what is going on up there? They are giving us answers, they’re talking to Transport Canada, but I think it makes sense for the Parliament of Canada to have the opportunity to ask them the same things," Raitt said.
Reporting by Mike De Souza and Randall Palmer; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and David Gregorio