- The Washington Times - Friday, September 12, 2014

A trio of environmental groups joined forces to sue the Department of Transportation, alleging the agency failed to respond to their petition to ban the use of DOT 111 — an older rail car model — to ship flammable crude oil.

That type of rail car is the most common one used during shipments of crude oil from the Bakken formation in the North Dakota region, The Hill reported.

But the Sierra Club, ForestEthics and Earthjustice say the model cars are vulnerable to puncture and spills, which could then lead to fires or explosions, The Hill said. So the groups petitioned the DOT in July to stop allowing their use.

The DOT, meanwhile, previously reported the model cars are being phased out over the span of three-to-six years and failed to yield to the environmental groups’ petition. But that time frame wasn’t acceptable to the environmental groups, so they launched a lawsuit to compel the government to act now.

“The department proposes to expose the public to these unacceptable risks for four more years,” said Patti Goldman, an attorney for Earthjustice, in The Hill. “We can’t run the risk of another disaster like Lac-Megantic, Quebec, when 47 people died in a DOT-111 crude oil explosion.”

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