July 13, 2016

Wyden, Merkley Introduce Legislation to Address Oil Train Derailments

Follows oil train derailment and massive fire in Oregon last month

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., introduced legislation that will take on the threats posed by oil trains and help prevent horrific accidents like what happened in Mosier, Oregon last month. The Mandate Oil Spill Inspections and Emergency Rules (MOSIER) Act would require the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate every major oil train derailment, clarify the Federal Rail Administration’s authority to place moratoriums on oil train traffic when accidents do happen, and require the Department of Transportation to reduce the amount of volatile gases in the crude oil these trains transport. 

“Oregonians deserve the strongest possible protections from oil train derailments,” Wyden said. “This bill ensures that federal authorities can stop trains after a major derailment until a thorough investigation has been completed, and that the NTSB has ample resources to closely examine the root causes of such a crash.”

 “As Oregon has seen firsthand, these oil trains are rolling explosion hazards,” Merkley said. “That’s unacceptable. We need long-term solutions that will keep communities safe. Every accident needs to be fully and independently investigated. The Federal Rail Administration needs to have the power to enforce moratoriums until identified problems are fully resolved. And the highly explosive Bakken crude needs to be stabilized before it rolls through our communities. This bill will do all three, greatly improving long-term safety.”

The MOSIER Act that was introduced today would:

  • Require the NTSB to investigate every major oil train derailment and provide resources to hire additional investigators.
  • Clarifies the Federal Rail Administration’s authority to put a moratorium on unit oil trains following an accident to allow for investigations to be completed and safety recommendations to be implemented.
  • Requires the Department of Transportation to establish and enforce a standard that reduces the amount of volatile gases in crude oil.