Derailment in Canada puts spotlight on crude-oil transportation

The derailment of a train carrying oil in a small town in Quebec, followed by fires, explosions and deaths, raises the issue of whether it is safer to transport oil by train or pipeline. Current pipeline capacity is fully utilized, and regulations make construction of new ones problematic. If the Obama administration does not approve the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast, much of the crude oil and bitumen is expected to make the trip by rail.

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