Monday, July 28, 2014

Oil-by-Rail safety rules: comments and Minn state expansion


Blumenthal Statement On DOT Proposed Rule For Rail Transportation Of Crude Oil

Jul 27,2014 -
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following statement after the Department of Transportation (DOT) released its proposed rule for rail transportation of crude oil. The proposed rule aims to: 1) require a phase out within two years of all outdated cars unless the cars are retrofitted; 2) expand the requirements governing crude oil to include ethanol and all “flammable liquids”; 3) reduce operating speeds to 40 miles per hour in certain locations; 4) require improved classification of gases and liquids; 5) ensure that trains carrying flammable liquids are traveling over the safest, most secure routes; 6) require more notification to emergency response coordinators; and 7) require enhanced braking on trains carrying flammable liquids.

“After a series of horrifying and catastrophic incidents over the past year – both in the U.S. and in Canada – we must take action to protect our communities from the dangers posed by trains carrying crude oil and other dangerous substances.

“Although the action by DOT is a step toward making our rail transport safer, it is far from the final measure necessary. More steps are vital to ensure the safe transportation of freight and people who rely each day on our country’s vast network of railroads.”

Blumenthal is the chair of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Surface Transportation.

New rail regulations in Minn.

July 28, 2014 10:04 am

New laws went into effect July 1 which improve the safety of Minnesota residents who live and work near railways that carry crude oil and other hazardous materials. The Minnesota Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Safety and the railroads will carry out the rail safety legislation signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton in May.

The legislation came after a string of explosive accidents involving crude oil in neighboring states and provinces. Stricter oversight of railroad companies will be implemented, providing more railway inspections and better emergency response training and preparedness in communities across Minnesota......[snip]

....The news are designed to strengthen safety requirements and improve disaster response readiness in the state and include required disaster prevention plans; more railway safety inspectors at the Minnesota Department of Transportation; railroads are required to provide emergency training every three years to every fire department located along oil train routes; railroads must file emergency response plans with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; and railroads are required to deploy enough equipment to clean up within a specified time period any spills or leaks that may occur.............continued here

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