May 07, 2014

Wyden: DOT Oil Trains Order a Positive Step, But Communities Need More Security

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D- Ore., today issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Transportation announced new efforts to improve the safety of oil-by-rail shipments:

“Oregon’s first responders told me they needed more information about the oil trains travelling through our communities, which is why I’ve continued pushing the Department of Transportation to listen to those concerns,”Wyden said.  

“Today’s announcement sounds like a positive step toward filling the information void first responders have described, but I’m going to take a closer look at the order to see how it would help communities. I plan to keep working with my colleagues to provide more funding for important safety initiatives to ensure communities can respond accordingly when accidents do occur.”

The DOT’s new emergency order will require rail companies to notify State Emergency Response Commissions about shipments of oil from the Bakken Formation by rail.

As the former chair of the Senate Energy Committee, Wyden, together with Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller, called for a review of crude oil transportation safety earlier this year. In April, Wyden joined 15 senators in asking for the creation of a new fund dedicated to responding to energy transportation-related accidents such as the train derailment in Virginia last week.