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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Schumer wants feds to require stabilized crude oil

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
Photo – Sen. Schumer's office


In the wake of a train derailment in New York last week, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) yesterday called on the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Department of Energy (DOE) to expedite a proposal that would require crude oil to be stabilized prior to shipment by rail.

The senator's request follows the derailment of a CSX train on a crude-by-rail route in Rockland County. Although the train was not carrying crude oil at the time, the track at the derailment site is often used by crude-oil trains, Schumer said in a press release.

The senator noted that existing USDOT and DOE regulations currently allow crude oil to be shipped without being stabilized.

"We know many trains that rumble through the county are laden with oil, and that this oil is highly volatile. We must take steps now to make that oil less explosive because we know from accidents like Lac Megantic the disaster that can occur from derailments, especially in populated areas," said Schumer.

The derailment in Rockland County occurred when the train struck a car carrier trailer that was stuck on tracks at the New Main Street and Route 9W crossing. The driver escaped without injury before the collision. Schumer noted the crossing has a history of collisions.

Schumer wants the federal departments to finalize an ongoing assessment of the need for oil stabilization standards and to quickly implement new requirements that oil be stabilized prior to shipping, according to the press release.