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 »
EXPECTED TO SAY U.S. IS WITHDRAWING FROM TREATY
Bolton Lands in Russia for Talks
10 minutes ago
THE LATEST
SHE IS HAVING MEMORY ISSUES
Sandra O'Connor Stepping Back From Public Life
18 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court has stepped back from public life. ...She last made public appearances over two years ago. This summer she turned over an office she had kept at the Supreme Court to the court’s most recently retired justice, Anthony Kennedy. Her son Jay O’Connor said in a telephone interview that his mother began to have challenges with her short-term memory. That made some public events more difficult. He says she now stays close to her Phoenix home."

SEX WOULD BE CONSIDERED BINARY
HHS Could Nix Title IX Protections for Transgender Students
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times. The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined 'on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.' The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with."

Source:
SAYS HIS DEATH STEMMED FROM A FISTFIGHT
Saudis Admit Khashoggi Killed in Embassy
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."

Source:
ROGER STONE IN THE CROSSHAIRS?
Mueller Looking into Ties Between WikiLeaks, Conservative Groups
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."

Source:
×
×

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