North Dakota Senator Weighs Bill to Fast-Track Rail-Car Safety Standards

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: U.S. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) speaks during a news conference July 26, 2012 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Senate Republicans held a news conference to discuss the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act 2012. 
National Journal
Clare Foran
Add to Briefcase
Clare Foran
Jan. 15, 2014, 7:30 a.m.

North Dakota Re­pub­lic­an Sen. John Ho­even signaled Wed­nes­day that he is weigh­ing le­gis­la­tion to fast-track fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions tight­en­ing safety stand­ards for rail-car con­struc­tion.

“The fed­er­al agen­cies work­ing on this is­sue need to de­vote the ne­ces­sary re­sources to get it done in a timely way,” Ho­even said in a state­ment, adding, “We are eval­u­at­ing le­gis­la­tion to fur­ther ad­vance the timeline, as well.”

The oil-patch sen­at­or’s com­ments came on the heels of an an­nounce­ment by the Trans­port­a­tion De­part­ment Tues­day that it is does not plan to fi­nal­ize the rule­mak­ing un­til 2015.

Ho­even in­dic­ated, however, that he plans to keep push­ing for an earli­er re­lease date.

“This week, we will meet with DOT Sec­ret­ary An­thony Foxx and in­dustry lead­ers to try to de­term­ine what and when suf­fi­cient guid­ance will be avail­able pri­or to the fi­nal­ized rule so that in­dustry can be­gin to trans­ition as soon as pos­sible,” he said.

The sen­at­or also said he plans to meet with Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Budget Dir­ect­or Sylvia Bur­well to dis­cuss wheth­er in­form­a­tion about the reg­u­la­tion can be made pub­licly avail­able be­fore its form­al re­lease.

A series of re­cent oil-by-rail ac­ci­dents, in­clud­ing the de­rail­ment and sub­sequent ex­plo­sion of a crude ship­ment earli­er this month in Cas­selton, N.D., have led a num­ber of law­makers, in­clud­ing Sens. Ho­even and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., to call for an ex­ped­ited rule­mak­ing pro­cess to head off fu­ture dis­asters.

An an­nounce­ment is­sued by DOT’s Pipeline and Haz­ard­ous Ma­ter­i­als Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion that crude from North Dakota’s Bakken form­a­tion may be more volat­ile than oth­er types of crude oil has fur­ther ad­ded to the ur­gency of the ap­peals.

What We're Following See More »
NRA Chief: Leftist Protesters Are Paid
1 days ago
Trump Still on Campaign Rhetoric
1 days ago
Trump Rails On Obamacare
1 days ago

After spending a few minutes re-litigating the Democratic primary, Donald Trump turned his focus to Obamacare. “I inherited a mess, believe me. We also inherited a failed healthcare law that threatens our medical system with absolute and total catastrophe” he said. “I’ve been watching and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work.” He finished, "so we're going to repeal and replace Obamacare."

Trump Goes After The Media
1 days ago

Donald Trump lobbed his first attack at the “dishonest media” about a minute into his speech, saying that the media would not appropriately cover the standing ovation that he received. “We are fighting the fake news,” he said, before doubling down on his previous claim that the press is “the enemy of the people." However, he made a distinction, saying that he doesn't think all media is the enemy, just the "fake news."

Report: Trump Asked FBI to Deny Russia Stories
1 days ago

"The FBI rejected a recent White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump's associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter tell CNN. But a White House official said late Thursday that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate."


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.