U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, has asked the General Accountability Office to examine the impact of shale oil and gas development on pipelines, rail and other transportation infrastructure and safety, following the train disaster in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, Platts reports.
“The recent derailment of a freight train in Canada carrying crude oil from shale reserves in North Dakota illustrated the potential deadly consequences of what can happen when something goes wrong during transport of these products,” Rockefeller wrote in a letter to the GAO.
In addition, he said production in the Marcellus Shale region has strained infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. He also noted that a 2010 GAO report on natural gas pipelines found gaps in the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s data on U.S. pipeline infrastructure.
Rockefeller asked the GAO to assess how U.S. transportation infrastructure has changed in recent years to accommodate the increased production, and how infrastructure challenges could impact pipeline, rail and highway safety.
Transport Canada, the Canadian government’s transportation department, was also recently asked to review some of its policies following the Lac Mégantic train derailment.