OVERNIGHT ENERGY: US energy infrastructure in focus

THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT CAN'T: As the number of derailments by trains carrying crude oil escalates, lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to act.

For one, each time one of the trains transporting crude oil has derailed or collided with another train, it sets off an explosion, leaving railcars ablaze. And those explosions are forcing nearby residents to evacuate their homes.

ADVERTISEMENT
The accidents are feeding growing concerns over whether crude oil from sites like the Bakken formation should be transported by rail at all. But a group of senators are pushing the Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and other federal departments to act, and act fast.

In a meeting with lawmakers Thursday, Foxx said he would investigate the incidents. Regulators will test the crude oil coming from the Bakken formation and a Texas site to determine whether the oil being produced is more flammable than other, more conventional crude.

Administration officials felt pressure on the same day that President Obama formally announced a sweeping review of energy strategy that will involve departments and agencies across the federal government. And the first review will focus on none other than energy infrastructure — including transportation of key energy sources like crude oil.

This issue will be a major one to watch in the coming year — the administration is eager to tout that the U.S. has reached a milestone in its domestic crude oil production. But that may be hard to do if railcars carrying the product continue to set off explosions.

The aging energy infrastructure is an issue plaguing more than just the oil and transportation sectors.

ON TAP FRIDAY: A House Natural Resources subpanel will hold a hearing on seismic exploration.

And the National Academy of Sciences will release a report on how to anticipate the abrupt impacts of climate change.

AROUND THE WEB:

The Associated Press reports the EPA will require that oil-and-gas companies fracturing off the coast of Southern California report chemical discharges into the ocean.

Bloomberg reports despite industry optimism that Obama will approve the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, oil companies in North America are aggressively shipping oil by rail and barge.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out the stories that ran on E2-Wire on Thursday ...

- Senate duo presses regulators to act on oil-by-rail derailments
- North Dakota lawmakers meet with top regulators on oil railcar safety
- House votes to ease EPA actions on states
- President Obama orders sweeping energy review
- Inhofe wants EPA to report economic impact of regulations
- Senate Dems send climate 'wake up call'
- IG: No evidence of political meddling in botched coal regs
- GOP takes last shot at repealing light bulb ban
- Exxon Mobil CEO: US to reach energy self-sufficiency by 2020
- Refiners still support crude export ban
- Energy secretary cancels India trip amid diplomatic fight

Please send tips and comments to Laura Barron-Lopez, laurab@thehill.com.