Fiery wrecks this month of trains hauling crude oil are intensifying pressure on the Obama administration to approve tougher standards for railroads and tank cars, despite industry complaints that it could cost billions and slow freight deliveries.
On Feb. 5, the Transportation Department sent the White House draft rules that would require stronger tank cars and make other safety improvements.
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Nine days later a train hauling crude oil and petroleum distillates derailed and caught fire in Ontario, Canada. Less than 48 hours later, another oil train derailed and caught fire in West Virginia.
Brigham McCown was responsible for safe transportation of hazardous materials during President George W. Bush's administration. He says that the more incidents there are, the less willing the administration will be to listen to industry.