OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Pipeline versus railcar

THE LESSER OF TWO HAZARDS: Until President Obama's decision on the Keystone XL oil pipeline is announced, the proposed TransCanada project will be used by lawmakers and stakeholders in the debate on whether pipelines or railcars are the best method of transporting crude oil across the U.S.

On Tuesday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said pipelines like Keystone XL must be built. Without it, she added, oil will continual be forced onto rail — an idea that is frightening more and more in the wake of the latest train derailment in North Dakota.

The BNSF Railway CO. train carrying crude oil derailed near Casselton, N.D., setting 21 railcars ablaze and setting off a series of explosions.

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The derailment is the fourth in North America over a span of six months by trains carrying crude oil. As shale from North Dakota to Texas has pushed U.S. output to the highest since 1988, record volumes of crude are moving by train.

North Dakota's Sens. John Hoeven (R) and Heidi Heitkamp (D) met separately with BNSF's president and CEO last weekend to discuss the derailment and safety measures being taken.

“We also need to rigorously review ways that shipping petroleum products by rail can be improved for safety. For instance, it will be important to identify which products can be shipped in which railcars for maximum safety until newer cars come online," Hoeven said prior to his meeting with BNSF. 

"At the same time, we must advance long-overdue rules for building new tankers with enhanced safety features as soon as possible," Hoeven said prior to his meeting with BNSF."

Check E2-Wire during the week for more on federal investigations into the crude oil flammability and railcar safety.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY: The House plans to discuss amending the Clean Air Act to strike out a provision that requires automakers to include the vehicle's emissions standards on its dealer certifications.

The House Rules Committee will also meet to form a rule on Rep. Cory Gardner's (R-Colo.) bill which would curb the Environmental Protection Agency's oversight of hazardous substances.

ON TAP WEDNESDAY II: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will host its State of American Business 2014. Among the discussion points they will hit on is promoting domestic energy production.

The World Resources Institute will also hold a news conference on its 2014 stories to watch. It will hit specifically on events that will affect the environment, sustainability and international development.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Here's what ran on E2-Wire on Tuesday ...

- Dem: Investigate oil-carrying train derailments
- Top oil lobby to throw muscle into 2014 races
- Murkowski: Obama should embrace lifting crude export ban
- Murkowski doubts State Dept. process on Keystone XL
- Murkowski calls for end to US crude export ban
- Canadian prime minister: Obama 'punted' Keystone XL decision 

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