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DOT accuses oil companies of holding back rail safety data

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The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) claims that oil companies are not providing all the information regulators need to effectively assess the safety of crude oil transportation by rail and take the necessary measures to ensure better policies are implemented.

Officials from the department told the Associated Press that the data they have received regarding the characteristics of the crude oil produced from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and Montana was only partial, even though the information had been requested more than two months ago, following a series of incidents involving trains carrying crude. DOT stated that it was disappointed by the lack of cooperation on the side of oil companies, which has impeded progress and raised concerns. In fact, officials stated that the data requested had been submitted by only a small number of companies.

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In response to the accusations, the American Petroleum Institute (API) stated that the industry was not hampering progress on the matter and wanted to know exactly what data was missing, so that it could be provided, according to the group's spokesman Eric Wohlschlegel. Meanwhile, the president of API, Jack Gerard, maintained that the industry group had been encouraging oil companies to "share what they know" with regulators. He added that there was more data to be submitted but stressed the fact that the API did not have all the information ready as it was not an industry library.

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