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US DOT proposes new regulations on DOT-111 tank cars

WASHINGTON – The US Department of Transportation on Wednesday proposed a number of rules to get tough on the use of the DOT-111 tanker rail cars that carry Bakken crude oil.

Those tanker cars pass through the Hudson Valley and derailed on at least two occasions recently. Those cars were empty at the time and there was no significant damage or injury.

The new rules would require the retrofit or phase-out of those cars within two years for shipment of Bakken crude oil and within five years for all flammable materials.

The rules would also address thicker tanker car walls and require roll-over protection and the notification of state emergency response commissions of trains carrying the crude oil through their state.

Senator Charles Schumer, who has been pushing for the elimination of those tankers, was pleased with the DOT’s proposed rules.

“These desperately needed safety regulations will phase out the aged and explosion-prone DOT-111 tanker cars that are hauling endless streams of highly flammable crude oil through communities across the country and in New York,” Schumer said. “These safety rules should be finalized, implemented, and enforced as soon as possible.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand applauded the DOT “for taking comprehensive action to protect our communities from dangerous rail cars that have proven time and time again to pose a serious safety risk.”

Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D, NY17), said the rules “should reduce the risks of dangerous crude transport accidents, but DOT must continue its focus to ensure they protect our communities because so much is at stake.”

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY18) said that, “Since 1992, we’ve known these tanker cars were highly hazardous, which is precisely why we must finally get urgent about phasing out these dangerous DOT-111 cars carrying highly explosive and dangerous crude.”