February 5, 2015 / 11:50 PM / 4 years ago

Clean-up at fiery ethanol train derailment site in Iowa starts

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd on Thursday started clearing the site of a train derailment in a remote location north of Dubuque, Iowa, that spilled ethanol from carriages and set three cars on fire, a spokesman for the railway said.

The clean-up comes at a critical time for the ethanol and oil industry as regulators review safety regulations for transporting flammable products after a string of fiery derailments involving crude oil cargoes.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation asked the White House to review a proposal that would set new standards for tank car design as officials aim to prevent fiery derailments.

The U.S. ethanol industry has pushed back on the new rules, saying regulators should distinguish between corn-based biofuel and crude oil.

All the fires at the derailment have burned out and two cars have been put back on the rails and removed from the site, but 13 cars and 2 engines - including three cars sitting on the frozen Mississippi River - were still off the rails, the spokesman said.

The railway will now work to remove the ethanol from the derailed cars and then move them from the site, he said.

Some of the biofuel has reached the water, but the company does not yet have an estimate of the quantity.

“We are closely monitoring the impact at the site as well as downstream to determine what remediation will be needed,” he said in an email.

It is also coordinating with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to check for ethanol in the water.

Reporting by Josephine Mason. Editing by Andre Grenon

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