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Rail News: Safety

Washington state sets new crude-by-rail rule


Starting Oct. 1, facilities in Washington state that receive crude oil by rail will be required to notify the state's Department of Ecology in advance of deliveries, according to a new state requirement.

Adopted by the department on Wednesday, the new rule allows the department to share crude oil movement information with emergency response agencies through an advance notification system, according to a Department of Ecology press release.

Each quarter, the department will publish aggregated public disclosure reports that detail oil movement in the state. The first report will be published in January 2017.

"In the wake of recent oil train disasters, Washington is moving quickly to improve public safety and protect our natural resources," said Gov. Jay Inslee. "This rule will assure that our emergency responders get advanced notice before oil train shipments arrive in their communities."

The rule also requires pipelines transporting crude oil in the state to submit information twice annually about volumes and place of origin.

When the rule takes effect, it will apply to four facilities in the state that currently receive crude-by-rail shipments, and to two pipelines in the state that transport crude oil. New facilities and pipelines also will be subject to the new rule, state Ecology officials said.

Inslee signed the state's Oil Transportation Safety Act in April 2015.