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 »
PER SOURCES
Trump to Visit UK In July
24 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

"US President Donald Trump will visit the UK in mid-July, according to Sky sources," with a formal announcement expected soon. "Mr Trump was due to open the new US Embassy in London in February but cancelled the trip saying the building was too expensive and tweeting that he was not a 'big fan' of the decision to move its location."

Source:
TESTS WERE SUSPENDED LAST WEEK
North Korea Testing Site Collapsed
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"North Korea’s underground nuclear test site has become unusable after a large part of it collapsed," say experts from the University of Science and Technology of China. "Their evidence comes just one week after a surprise announcement from leader Kim Jong Un that North Korea would stop nuclear tests." The finding contradicts the Trump Administration's claim that the closure was a major concession by North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, who is set to meet with him for talks with President Trump in May.

Source:
WILL REDUCE DEBATE TIME FROM 30 HOURS TO 8
Senate Rules Aims to Speed Confirmation of Nominees
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Republicans on Wednesday will begin a push to change Senate rules in a way that would allow the faster confirmation of President Trump's nominees, after months of complaints that Democrats are dragging out the process. The Senate Rules Committee will meet in the afternoon to consider a resolution that would reduce post-cloture debate for most Executive Branch nominees from 30 hours to just 8 hours. The goal is to prevent Democrats from stretching out debate over several days."

Source:
LESKO WILL FILL FRANKS’S SEAT
GOP Holds onto AZ-08 Seat Narrowly
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Arizona Republican Debbie Lesko won a special election to fill the deep red seat Trent Franks retired from earlier this year. Unofficial balloting had her up 52.9% to 47.2%. This victory is a bit close for comfort, considering Donald Trump's 21-point victory there in 2016. This victory will do very little to calm GOP nerves five months before Election Day.

TRUMP CALLED HIM A “GREAT GUY”
Apple CEO To Meet With Trump
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Apple CEO Tim Cook will meet with President Trump today, "at a time of heightened trade tensions between the U.S. and China with technology caught up in the spat. Both countries have proposed import tariffs on each others' products, but the U.S. has been tough on Chinese technology firms." China is an important market for Apple, and Cook is expected to bring up the worsening trade relationship.

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