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Study Aims To Prepare California For Dangers Of Transporting Highly Explosive Oil By Rail

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) — Over the next few years, a quarter of California’s oil will come in by rail according to state leaders. Saturday the Interagency Working Group on Oil by Rail Safety issued a study to help state agencies prepare for the worst case scenarios as this highly explosive oil is transported.

The study was commissioned by several state agencies and it identifies areas that are best prepared to handle an emergency situation. The Bay Area is one of them.

The report details 12 main recommendations:

  • Increase the number of California Public Utilities Commission rail inspectors;
  • Improve emergency preparedness and response programs;
  • Request improved identifiers on tank placards for first responders;
  • Request railroads to provide real-time shipment information to emergency responders;
  • Request railroads provide more information to affected communities;
  • Develop and post interactive oil by rail map;
  • Request the federal Department of Transportation to expedite phase-out of older, riskier tank cars;
  • Accelerate implementation of new accident prevention technology;
  • Update California Public Utilities Commission incident reporting requirements;
  • Request railroads provide California with broader accident data;
  • Ensure compliance with industry voluntary agreement;
  • Ensure state agencies have adequate data.
  • Starting next year there will be a $.06 1/2 cent per barrel fee added on oil transported to the state by rail. The fee will help fund oil spill response and prevention efforts. There is another proposal to create a fee to pay to train and equip firefighters.

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