Oil companies fined for misidentifying crude on trains

A trio of oil companies has been fined by the Department of Transportation for incorrectly identifying crude oil that was being shipped on railways, The New York Times reports.

The fines follow a pair of high-profile accidents involving trains that derailed while carrying crude oil shipments.

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The derailments reignited debate about the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, which supporters say will help reduce the amount of oil that shipped by railways in the U.S.

The companies — Hess Corp., Whiting Oil and Gas Corp. and Marathon Oil Corp. — were fined $93,000 for incorrectly labeling their crude oil cargo, according to the report.

The paper said the department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety and Federal Railroad administrations discovered 11 of 18 samples that were tested for the companies were incorrectly labeled.

The Obama administration and lawmakers promised to crack down on crude oil rail shipments in the wake of a December derailment in North Dakota that spilled 400,000 gallons of crude oil and a derailment in Lac-Megantic in Quebec province, Canada, last July that killed 42 people and incinerated 30 buildings.