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Rail News: Safety

U.S. Rep. Beutler calls on USDOT to study oil-train safety risks

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) is asking the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to study whether interspersing crude-oil rail cars with cars carrying nonvolatile commodities on trains would reduce the combustion risk during a derailment.

In a letter to the USDOT, she pressed department officials to provide information on the potential risk factor that has been expressed by local government, community and fire department members.

"Currently, oil trains are traveling along the Columbia River Gorge, and my focus is on ensuring federal regulations are making these shipments as safely as possible," wrote Beutler in the letter, which she addressed to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Federal Railroad Administrator Sara Feinberg and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez.

The lawmaker's concerns come in the wake of a crude-oil train derailment along the Columbia River Gorge in Mosier, Ore., in June. Sixteen cars of a Union Pacific Railroad train derailed and four caught fire. The train was transporting Bakken crude oil to Tacoma, Wash., when the incident occurred. No injuries were reported.

"Long lines of oil cars are becoming a more familiar sight in our region, and if breaking them up into smaller blocks will better protect our citizens, the Columbia River and nearby forests, we should put a federal standard in place — quickly," Beutler said

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More News from 9/28/2016