Mislabeled oil was involved in July’s Quebec train disaster. Canadian officials announced on Wednesday that the substance contained in dozens of tanker cars was misclassified as a less dangerous type of crude oil.
The July disaster nearly decimated the town of Lac-Megantic and killed 47 people.
ABC News reports that the Canadian transportation safety board’s chief investigator, Donald Ross, explained that the shipment of North Dakota oil was mislabeled as a “Group 3″ flammable liquid.
In reality, it should have been labeled as “Group 2,” meaning it was more explosive. Ross was asked if proper labeling could have changed the outcome of the incident, but he said the board’s work is not done yer.
Safety regulations surrounding the transportation of crude oil changes based on the type of oil and the lowest temperature at which it can ignite. Tests following the Quebec train disaster showed the oil involved was as volatile as gasoline.
The Washington Post notes that the Transportation Safety Board of Canada sent safety advisory letters to the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and to Transport Canada about the mislabeled oil. In response, US officials announced that they are investigating to see if any crude oil shipments are being wrongly classified.
US teams have been performing spot inspections since the July disaster, especially from shipments leaving the Bakken oil region. The oil involved in the July incident came from the Bakken region, specifically North Dakota. Oil is also being taken from Montana, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
The July disaster raised questions about transportation of oil by rail in both the United States and Canada. Railways have seen an increase in crude oil shipment because of the Bakken region.
While the train involved in the July disaster was operated by a US company, New Brunswick’s Irving Oil co. was responsible for the labels. If there are any charges filed for the mislabeled oil, Irving Oil will likely be the target.
[Image by Sûreté du Québec via Wikimedia Commons]