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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

U.S. Rep. Garamendi introduces crude-by-rail safety bill


U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) last week introduced a bill that would establish safety standards for the maximum volatility for crude oil before it could be transported by rail.

The "Crude By Rail Volatility Standards Act" (H.R. 5553) would prohibit rail transportation of crude oil and other similar materials. It also requires that all crude by rail in the United States adhere to the New York Mercantile Exchange's maximum Reid vapor pressure for crude-oil futures contracts of 9.5 pounds per square inch, the Times-Herald reported.

The current standard would remain in place until the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) completes the rule setting a maximum volatility standard that was first announced in 2017 after the attorneys general of six states, including California, petitioned the U.S. Department of Transportation and PHMSA to finalize the regulation nationwide, the newspaper reported.

"My bill simply requires oil companies to decrease the volatility to market levels, rather than carrying unstable products through communities," Garamendi said in a prepared statement. "I am committed to enacting this legislation into law this year as part of the surface transportation reauthorization."

Garamendi, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, introduced the bill on Jan. 8. He has tried to get legislation passed since 2015 to prohibit crude-by-rail unless it met certain safety standards.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/13/2020