Lawmakers Drill Down on Crude-by-Rail Safety

US Sen. John Hoeven, R-ND, speaks to reporters November 30, 2011 on the Keystone XL pipeline on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Clare Foran
Add to Briefcase
Clare Foran
Feb. 6, 2014, 11:54 a.m.

Sen­at­ors will fo­cus on crude-by-rail safety next week in a hear­ing that ar­rives on the heels of a fed­er­al in­vest­ig­a­tion in­dic­at­ing that im­prop­er la­beling and pack­aging of crude-oil rail ship­ments may be wide­spread.

Sen­ate Com­merce Com­mit­tee Chair­man Jay Rock­e­feller said Thursday that the Feb. 13 hear­ing be­fore the Sur­face Trans­port­a­tion and Mer­chant Mar­ine In­fra­struc­ture, Safety, and Se­cur­ity Sub­com­mit­tee will fo­cus on pas­sen­ger and freight rail safety.

Risks in­volved in ship­ping crude oil in rail cars are sure to come up as well. Ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease an­noun­cing the hear­ing, sub­com­mit­tee mem­bers will dis­cuss “re­cent high-pro­file rail ac­ci­dents, pos­it­ive train con­trol im­ple­ment­a­tion and oth­er key safety chal­lenges.”

Rail safety has been the sub­ject of heightened scru­tiny in re­cent months fol­low­ing a series of de­rail­ments in­volving tank cars car­ry­ing crude oil sourced from North Dakota’s Bakken Form­a­tion. In Decem­ber, a train car­ry­ing crude ran off the tracks in Cas­selton, N.D., spark­ing a massive fire­ball and an ex­plo­sion.

Sen. John Ho­even, R-N.D., said in an in­ter­view that fed­er­al reg­u­lat­ors will be present at the hear­ing along with stake­hold­ers from the rail and en­ergy in­dus­tries.

Ho­even also said that he hopes fund­ing can be found for the Trans­port­a­tion De­part­ment to provide more rail and crude-ship­ment safety in­spec­tions.

“This is an ex­tremely im­port­ant is­sue right now and we’ve got to make sure this is safe,” Ho­even said. “We’re work­ing on the fisc­al year 2015 ap­pro­pri­ations bill on the Ap­pro­pri­ations Com­mit­tee, so I’ll work to make sure there’s fund­ing for more track in­spect­ors in the De­part­ment of Trans­port­a­tion budget.”

Ho­even be­lieves his bid to in­crease in­spec­tions will win sup­port from fed­er­al reg­u­lat­ors and mem­bers of Con­gress.

“There’s a re­cog­ni­tion that we’re mov­ing a lot more crude by rail and we all need to work to­geth­er to min­im­ize the risk of fire or an ex­plo­sion, and that means mak­ing sure that the tracks are safe and mak­ing sure that things are loaded and shipped prop­erly,” he said.

What We're Following See More »
TAKE THAT, HATERS
Trump: High IQ People Loved the Putin Meeting
1 hours ago
THE LATEST
SAME MODEL AS STEEL AND ALUMINUM TARIFFS
Commerce to Look into Uranium Imports
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Trump administration plans to open an investigation into whether uranium imports are harming national security, a move that could lead to tariffs on foreign shipments of the metal, said three people familiar with the matter. U.S. uranium producers Energy Fuels Inc. and Ur-Energy Inc. filed a petition in January asking the Commerce Department to investigate the matter under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, the same provision the president used to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports."

Source:
DON'T BE EVIL
Google Fined $5 Billion By E.U. For Antitrust Violations
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

Google has been fined a record-breaking $5 billion by E.U. regulators for abusing "its Android market dominance." Officials accuse Google of "bundling its search engine and Chrome apps into the operating system," of blocking "phone makers from creating devices that run forked versions of Android," and of making "payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators" to exclusively use the Google Search app. Google plans to appeal the fine.

Source:
"POLICY DIFFERENCES DON'T MATTER"
Comey Says to Vote Democratic This Fall
12 hours ago
THE LATEST
ON DECK: HELSINKI, NORTH KOREA
Pompeo Called to Testify by Senate Foreign Relations
18 hours ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login