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 / Updated  / Source: Associated Press

Thousands of older rail tank cars that carry crude oil would be phased out within two years under regulations proposed Wednesday in response to a series of fiery train crashes, including a runaway train that exploded in Quebec, killing 47 people. Department of Transportation regulators left open the question of what kind of tank car will replace the old DOT-111s. The proposed regulations would also apply to the transport of ethanol and other hazardous liquids. The proposals mandate a 40-mph speed limit through urban areas that freight railroads had already voluntarily agreed to. Tank cars have ruptured in several accidents at speeds as low as 24 mph. Environmentalists were not impressed. The "weak new standards" give the oil industry "a license to threaten the safety of millions of Americans and leave communities and emergency responders holding the bag," said Matt Krogh, of ForestEthics.

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- The Associated Press and Reuters