July 13, 2016

Wyden Applauds Rail Transportation Notification for Emergency Responders

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., applauded a proposed rule announced today by the Department of Transportation that would require railroads to provide more notification about shipments of crude oil and other flammable liquids.

“First responders must be informed when trains carrying hazardous materials are going to travel through their communities. Today’s proposal moves toward greater transparency by requiring railroads to better notify emergency responders about large shipments of any flammable liquid, not just oil,” Wyden said. “I have been calling for stronger notification standards for two years, and I will be looking at the details of this proposal to see if it goes far enough to ensure communities are prepared.”

Wyden has called on the Department of Transportation to increase transparency of trains transporting hazardous materials since 2014. He was joined by Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

Last year, Wyden introduced  the Hazardous Materials Rail Transportation Safety Improvement Act, which implements National Transportation Safety Board recommendations to increase the amount of information provided to first responders. The legislation, S. 1175, is co-sponsored by 12 senators.  Rep. Suzanne Bonamici today introduced a similar version of the bill in the House of Representatives.

The proposed transparency rule is part of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that was issued Wednesday by the Department of Transportation. In addition to requiring notification for all hazardous material shipments, the proposed rule also would update and clarify the comprehensive oil spill response plan requirements for certain trains, and also would incorporate a test method for initial boiling point for flammable liquids into the hazardous materials regulations.