August 21st, 2014
New Oil Tank Rail Regulations Proposed
WASHINGTON - After months of urging the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to release comprehensive rules for improving crude oil transport safety, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) applauded the DOT’s initial comprehensive proposal issued to immediately phase out the use of older DOT-111 tank cars, issue new standards for tanker cars carrying highly hazardous materials, reduce operating speeds, and require notification for first responders. During the public comment period, Maloney will also urge the DOT to consider adding local first responders as part of the notification to state emergency responders for trains carrying more than a million gallons of Bakken crude. In addition, Maloney urged DOT to move quickly on developing and expanding comprehensive oil spill response planning requirements – now currently in the preliminary stages.
“Since 1992, we’ve known these tanker cars were highly hazardous, which is precisely why we must finally get urgent about phasing out these dangerous DOT-111 cars carrying highly explosive and dangerous crude. With billions of gallons of oil barreling down the Hudson, it’s an accident waiting to happen if we don’t act - the safety of our neighbors, environment and communities is far too important,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “Although railroads would now be required to notify state emergency responders, our local first responders and emergency personnel who would be first on the scene on the accident should also be notified of shipments happening in their backyard, and we must work quickly to develop comprehensive oil spill response planning requirements to give more guidance to our first responders.”
In May, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) sent a letter to President Obama and Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell requesting the immediate release of these comprehensive rules for crude oil transport safety, recommended by the Department of Transportation. Both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) have called on the DOT to phase-out or retrofit existing DOT-111 cars deemed inadequate. Out of 92,000 DOT-111 rail cars in use, 78,000 are unsafe and are prone to splitting during derailments. Currently, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration issued a Safety Advisory urging railroads to use the most protective type of rail tank cars to ship the oil and to avoid, when possible, using older model DOT-111 tanker cars.
As a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he has been working with the Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to examine the environmental and economic impact of shipments of crude on the Hudson River. In May, Rep. Maloney introduced an amendment to the defense reauthorization bill that would have required a study on the security implications of shipping crude oil by rail within a half mile of a military academy and also introduced the Rail Safety Enforcement Act, a comprehensive rail safety bill to make rail systems safer, portions of which were passed by the House of Representatives in June. In December, Representative Maloney introduced legislation that would increase funding for the Railroad Safety Technology Grant Program, which invests in train control technologies, electronically controlled pneumatic brakes, rail integrity warning systems, and other new or novel railroad safety technology such as Positive Train Control. This program expired on October 1, 2013.