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 »
SAYS HIS DEATH STEMMED FROM A FISTFIGHT
Saudis Admit Khashoggi Killed in Embassy
1 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
1 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:
PROBING COLLUSION AND OBSTRUCTION
Mueller To Release Key Findings After Midterms
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections ... Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice." Mueller has faced pressure to wrap up the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said an official, who would receive the results of the investigation and have "some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released," if he remains at his post.

Source:
PASSED ON SO-CALLED "SAR" REPORTS
FinCen Official Charged with Leaking Info on Manafort, Gates
1 days ago
THE DETAILS
"A senior official working for the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has been charged with leaking confidential financial reports on former Trump campaign advisers Paul Manafort, Richard Gates and others to a media outlet. Prosecutors say that Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior adviser to FinCEN, photographed what are called suspicious activity reports, or SARs, and other sensitive government files and sent them to an unnamed reporter, in violation of U.S. law."
Source:
FIRST CHARGE FOR MIDTERMS
DOJ Charges Russian For Meddling In 2018 Midterms
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"The Justice Department on Friday charged a Russian woman for her alleged role in a conspiracy to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election, marking the first criminal case prosecutors have brought against a foreign national for interfering in the upcoming midterms. Elena Khusyaynova, 44, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Prosecutors said she managed the finances of 'Project Lakhta,' a foreign influence operation they said was designed 'to sow discord in the U.S. political system' by pushing arguments and misinformation online about a host of divisive political issues, including immigration, the Confederate flag, gun control and the National Football League national-anthem protests."

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