North Dakota Senator to Meet With Top Regulator on Oil-by-Rail Safety

Scorched oil tankers remain on July 10, 2013 at the train derailment site in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Edward Bukhardt, CEO of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railways Inc.,(MMA) told reporters Wednesday that the train was left running while the engineer spent the night sleeping in a hotel in Nantes, adding that the engineer was following standard 'industry practice.' The train carrying crude oil from North Dakota derailed in the town of Lac-Megantic overnight Friday, causing a massive fire and explosions that killedat least 15 people, with another 45 still missing.
National Journal
Ben Geman
Jan. 7, 2014, 11:10 a.m.

Sen. John Ho­even, R-N.D., is press­ing seni­or Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials to boost rail-safety stand­ards fol­low­ing the re­cent ex­plo­sion of tankers car­ry­ing crude oil pro­duced in his state’s boom­ing Bakken re­gion.

He’s among mul­tiple law­makers who are in­creas­ingly ur­ging reg­u­lat­ors to boost crude-by-rail safety in the wake of re­cent ac­ci­dents.

Ho­even will meet Thursday with Trans­port­a­tion Sec­ret­ary An­thony Foxx and Cyn­thia L. Quarter­man, head of the Trans­port­a­tion De­part­ment’s Pipeline and Haz­ard­ous Ma­ter­i­als Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion, an aide said.

Ho­even said the oil in­dustry has been trans­ition­ing to use of double-hulled cars but that fed­er­al stand­ards need up­dat­ing to speed up man­u­fac­tur­ers’ pro­duc­tion of the safer cars.

“One-third of the fleet has already transitioned, but [man­u­fac­tur­ers] still don’t know what the re­quire­ments are from PHMSA. PHMSA has got to get those re­quire­ments out there so we can make that trans­ition as ag­gress­ively as pos­sible,” Ho­even told re­port­ers in the Cap­it­ol on Tues­day.

“In­dustry … needs cer­tainty. Get the new re­quire­ments out there so they know what they are. That’s go­ing to help us trans­ition the fleet faster,” said Ho­even, who also spoke re­cently with the head of the Na­tion­al Trans­port­a­tion Safety Board about rail safety.

PHMSA is work­ing on a reg­u­la­tion to up­date stand­ards for rail cars car­ry­ing haz­ard­ous ma­ter­i­als.

The agency also warned a week ago that oil from the Bakken re­gion may be more flam­mable than tra­di­tion­al heavy crude oil.

Ho­even’s up­com­ing meet­ing comes after a train car­ry­ing crude oil de­railed and ex­ploded in his state on Dec. 30. It was the latest of sev­er­al ac­ci­dents in re­cent months in­volving crude oil shipped by rail, in­clud­ing a dis­aster last Ju­ly in Que­bec that took 47 lives.

Ho­even’s meet­ing with PHMSA is part of broad­er in­quir­ies by North Dakota law­makers fol­low­ing the re­cent ac­ci­dent.

He met Sat­urday with the ex­ec­ut­ive chair­man of BNSF Rail­way Co., the com­pany in­volved in the Dec. 30 ac­ci­dent near Cas­selton, North Dakota.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., met with the Na­tion­al Trans­port­a­tion Safety Board on Tues­day and also met Sunday with BNSF Ex­ec­ut­ive Chair­man Mat­thew Rose, her of­fice said.

“We talked about the need to in­crease pres­sure on fed­er­al reg­u­lat­ors to is­sue new stand­ards for trans­port­ing oil so that it’s done safely and re­spons­ibly,” Heitkamp said in a state­ment.

What We're Following See More »
THROUGH THE ELECTION
Brazile Replacing DWS on an Interim Basis
11 minutes ago
THE LATEST

Donna Brazile, the longtime Democratic strategist and political commentator, is replacing Debbie Wasserman Schultz as head of the Democratic National Convention, at least until the November elections.

Source:
OUTLIER OR TREND?
CNN/ORC Poll Shows Big Bounce for Trump
22 minutes ago
THE LATEST

According to a new CNN/ORC poll, Donald Trump emerged from the GOP convention "ahead of Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House, topping her 44% to 39% in a four-way matchup including Gary Johnson (9%) and Jill Stein (3%) and by three points in a two-way head-to-head, 48% to 45%. That latter finding represents a 6-point convention bounce for Trump, which are traditionally measured in two-way matchups."

Source:
AVOIDING CLINTON OR PREFERRING TO CAMPAIGN?
Some Dems in Tight Races Elect to Skip Convention
22 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

As the Democratic National Convention gets underway today in Philadelphia, some prominent Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate are nowhere to be found. "At least four candidates in major races are opting out, including Russ Feingold, who is challengingSen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin; Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who is taking on Sen. John McCain in Arizona; Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, who is running against Sen. Roy Blunt; and Catherine Cortez Masto, who is battling Rep. Joe Heck in Nevada for the seat vacated by retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid." The candidates have stated their decisions aren't motivated by a desire to avoid being tied to the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Source:
PRIME TIME ADDRESS
Bloomberg to Endorse Clinton This Week
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Michael Bloomberg will endorse Hillary Clinton this week in a prime-time speech. "The news is an unexpected move from Mr. Bloomberg, who has not been a member of the Democratic Party since 2000; was elected the mayor of New York City as a Republican; and later became an independent. But it reflects Mr. Bloomberg’s increasing dismay about the rise of Donald J. Trump and a determination to see that the Republican nominee is defeated."

Source:
MOST WILL BE BOUND IN 2020
Democrats Vote Major Changes to Superdelegate System
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Democratic Rules Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of a major shift in the superdelegate system Saturday night after a deal was reached between" the Clinton and Sanders camps. "The committee approved nearly unanimously an amendment that preserves the existing superdelegate role for elected U.S. lawmakers and governors, but will bind the remaining superdelegates — roughly two-thirds — to primary and caucus results."

Source:
×