Warner, Kaine on emergency action on crude rail shipments

congressU.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine released a joint statement following the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s issuance of an emergency order requiring railroads transporting large amounts of Bakken crude oil to notify state emergency response officials.

In addition, DOT today issued a safety advisory strongly encouraging railroads shipping Bakken crude oil to use the strongest possible tank cars.

Both actions were requested by Sens. Warner and Kaine in a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on Monday. The letter followed last Wednesday’s derailment of 17 rail tank cars carrying crude oil in downtown Lynchburg. An estimated 20,000 gallons of crude oil was released into the james river following the derailment and resulting fire.

“We are pleased to see these emergency actions taken one week to the day after the Lynchburg derailment.  This is a simple step to ensure that our railroads are communicating with first responders in Virginia and across the country so they are better informed about the operation of these trains. Emergency response personnel must be prepared to act quickly when accidents occur, and this new requirement to notify state-level emergency management officials is a positive step. We look forward to working with the railroads and state officials to make sure appropriate and timely information is getting into the hands of local first responders so they are prepared,” Sens. Warner and Kaine said in a joint statement.

“We believe today’s safety advisory urging railroads shipping Bakken crude to use their strongest-available tank cars is a commonsense interim step as DOT continues to work on more robust regulations to minimize risk in the transport of crude oil.  We continue to urge the Administration to put forth a proposal for public comment so the process can move forward.”

         
 

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