Federal regulators announced Thursday that the rail and energy industries will take steps to improve the safety of crude-by-rail shipments in the wake of a string of recent accidents.
Both industries will work to determine if improvements to existing Association of American Railroad tank-car standards are needed to improve rail safety, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters during a press call.
The secretary did not elaborate on how the improvements would be made.
Foxx was joined on the call by the head of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Cynthia Quaterman, and the leader of the Federal Railroad Administration, Joseph Szabo. All three officials took part in a meeting on Thursday with rail, oil, and natural-gas stakeholders that was described by Foxx as a “call to action” on crude-by-rail safety.
As a result of the negotiations, representatives from the rail industry also pledged to reduce the speed at which tank cars carrying crude oil travel in parts of the country where accident risk is the greatest.
The oil and gas industry, for its part, plans to work with DOT to share information about the content and volatility of crude-oil shipments to increase transparency and aid public- and private-sector efforts to improve tank-car safety.
Foxx praised industry leaders for their willingness to undertake the changes.
“I was heartened to hear the industry say to us that they have a strong and vested interest in the safety of material being transported around the country, particularly this crude oil,” Foxx said, adding, “We asked the industry for some specific, immediate deliverables, and we are pleased to see the industry respond.”
The press briefing came one day after Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., criticized the department for not moving quickly enough to finalize rail-car safety regulations.
“We are concerned that unless DOT provides guidance sooner, the timeline will be too long for industry to transition to newer, safer tank cars in a timely way,” the senator said in a statement in response to a notice from the department that new regulations were not likely to be finalized until 2015.
When asked whether DOT can do anything to fast-track the rulemaking, Foxx replied, “We will continue to move as quickly as we can “¦ [but] what we are trying to deal with here is a comprehensive strategy that contains a heavy dose of prevention.”
CORRECTION: An earlier verion of this story stated that the rail and oil and natural gas industries would make safety improvements to tank cars within thirty days.
What We're Following See More »
After keeping the information private for most of the lead-up to the debate on Monday, it has been revealed that longtime Clinton aide Philippe Reines has been playing the role of Donald Trump in her debate prep. Reines knows Clinton better than most, able to identify both her strengths and weaknesses, and his selection for a sparring partner shows that Clinton is preparing for the brash and confrontational Donald Trump many have come to expect.
- A national Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Clinton leading Trump by just two points among likely voters, 46% to 44%.
- A national Bloomberg poll out Monday morning by Selzer & Co. has Clinton and Trump tied at 46% in a two-way race, and Trump ahead 43% to 41% in a four-way race.
- A CNN/ORC poll in Colorado shows likely voters’ support for Trump at 42%, 41% for Clinton, and a CNN/ORC poll in Pennsylvania has Clinton at 45% and Trump at 44%.
- A Portland Press Herald/UNH survey in Maine has Clinton leading Trump in ME-01 and Trump ahead in ME-02.
More than 30 times, in the case of some donors. Long before Cruz endorsed Trump—and before he even snubbed the nominee at the Republican National Convention—"the senator quietly began renting his vast donor email file to his former rival, pocketing at least tens of thousands of dollars, and more likely hundreds of thousands, that can be used to bankroll the Texan’s own political future."
"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered 'debate persuadables'—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate."
Will he or won't he? That's the question surrounding Donald Trump and his on-again, off-again threats to bring onetime Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers to the debate as his guest. An assistant to flowers initially said she'd be there, but Trump campaign chief Kellyanne Conway "said on ABC’s 'This Week' that the Trump campaign had not invited Flowers to the debate, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of Flowers being in the audience."