Warner, Kaine applaud DOT effort to improve oil by rail safety

congressToday, U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine applauded the measures announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) to improve the safety of crude oil rail shipments.

Following the derailment of 17 tank cars carrying crude oil in downtown Lynchburg in April, Warner and Kaine urged Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to take action on areas of concern raised by the incident. DoT’s proposal includes several of the measures Warner and Kaine recommended, including enhanced tank car standards and improved communication with local first responders about crude-oil shipments transported through their communities. The proposal released today would require that trains containing one million gallons of Bakken crude oil notify State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs) about rail shipments through their states.

“DOT’s decision today to move forward with proposed regulations on crude by rail transport is a positive step, and one that I’ve been advocating for since the Lynchburg derailment,” said Warner, who in June convened a meeting of state and local leaders with federal regulators to hear firsthand the concerns of communities and first responders across the Commonwealth. “There is clearly more work to be done, and we need to ensure first responders have the appropriate information and resources to respond in case there is an incident.  I look forward to working with US DOT, the business community and Virginia localities to move this process forward so that we can protect our communities and transport these materials in the safest possible manner.”

“Incidents like the oil car derailment in Lynchburg earlier this year demonstrate why ensuring safe transport of oil by rail requires the best technology, close coordination with local communities and quick access to information so first responders know what they are dealing with in a crisis situation,”said Kaine. “Senator Warner and I wrote to the Department of Transportation in the wake of the Lynchburg incident to raise these and other concerns, and I’m encouraged by today’s announcement of proposed action on several of these fronts. I will closely follow this process to ensure that safety and transparency remain top priorities.”

DoT’s proposed regulations are available for review at www.regulations.gov and will now be open for 60 days of public comment.

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