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Dept. Of Transportation Announces Regional Response Team Requirement For Oil Train Wrecks

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP/KDKA) -- Federal transportation officials are requiring railroads to establish regional response teams along oil train routes following a series of fiery derailments.

The new rule announced Thursday is aimed at having crews and equipment ready in the event of an accident. It applies to oil trains in continuous blocks of 20 or more loaded tank cars and those having 35 loaded tank cars.

Several of those types of trains, hauling crude oil, pass through the City of Pittsburgh everyday. Since 2013, there have been five oil train derailments in the region. Those have happened in Sewickley, McKeesport, Hazelwood, Panther Hollow and Vandergrift.

The U.S. Department of Transportation says a review identified challenges that occurred during previous responses to derailments.

Rail carriers will be required to provide information about oil trains to emergency response agencies and identify someone to oversee each response zone along with organizations, crews and equipment to be used in a "worst-case discharge."

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao says in a statement the rule "will make the transport of energy products by railroad safer."

(TM and © Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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