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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Sen. Baldwin, Rep. Kind urge Obama to issue crude-oil train standards


U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) have asked President Barack Obama to take immediate action on a final set of safety rules for crude-oil trains.

Their letter expressed frustration after the Obama administration missed a Jan. 15 deadline to release final rules that would address recent crude-oil train accidents.

"Oil train accidents are increasing at an alarming rate as a result of the increased oil production from the Bakken formation in North Dakota," the lawmakers wrote. "Congress has provided additional funding to study safer tank cars, hire more track inspectors, and repair rail infrastructure. We urge your administration to use this funding, along with its regulatory powers, to improve oil train safety as quickly as possible."

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration first issued a draft of rules addressing oil-train safety in July 2014, but have not yet issued the final rules. The agencies were required by law to complete the rules by Jan. 15, the lawmakers said.

Baldwin and Kind cited poor rail infrastructure as among the primary reasons for the recent spate of derailments in the U.S., and they urged the Federal Railroad Administration to increase inspections along oil train routes.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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