News Releases

OIL TRAINS: Murray Statement on U.S. Dept. of Transportation Proposed Rule for Oil Train Safety

Jul 23 2014

Murray has led Senate efforts to improve rail safety, update and improve rules for tank cars carrying oil

Murray held first hearing focused solely on oil train safety, set deadline for DOT tank car rules announced today, authored Transportation spending bill focused on challenges related to crude-by-rail

In 2011, there were virtually no shipments of crude oil by rail in Washington state; last year, 17 million barrels were shipped across WA; shipments are expected to triple to 55 million barrels in 2014

Crude oil by rail moves through WA communities like Seattle, Spokane, Vancouver, and Bellingham

(Washington, D.C.)  Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD), released the following statement in response to U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new proposed rule related to transportation of crude oil by rail.

“The proposed rule released today by Secretary Foxx is certainly a step in the right direction, but there is still more work to be done, by both regulators and industry, to ensure that crude oil can be transported safely by rail through communities across the United States. I’m pleased that the proposed regulations address issues I outlined in the 2015 transportation spending bill, like enhanced rail tank car standards and improved classification of flammable liquids, that are much-needed steps to improve the safety of our rail system. I am also happy to see that the Department is concurrently evaluating more robust oil spill response plans requirements. I look forward to continue working closely with Secretary Foxx to ensure that safety remains our top priority.”

Senator Murray has led Senate efforts to protect communities, infrastructure, and the environment as transportation of crude oil by rail continues growing exponentially in Washington state and across the country.

As Chair of the THUD Subcommittee, Senator Murray held the first Congressional hearing focused specifically on rail transportation of crude oil, and afterward, included several critical safety provisions related to crude-by-rail shipments in the 2015 transportation spending bill, which she authored.  Those provisions included a deadline for the proposed rules released by DOT today, mandated comprehensive oil spill response plans for rail carriers, funding for additional rail safety inspectors, and much more.

Read more about DOT’s comprehensive rulemaking proposal here: