The Department of Transportation released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking today for the transportation of crude oil and ethanol by rail. With the release of the proposed new regulations, a public comment period now begins before the rules will be finalized.
The proposed rules offer a wide variety of options for the public to comment on with the weakest proposals essentially being the status quo, as is the case for the rail tank car recommendations.
These proposed regulations have been under review for the past several months at the White House’s Office of Information of Regulatory Affairs where industry lobbyists have been hard at work to weaken and delay the regulations. An initial review of the proposal makes it clear their efforts have paid off and first reactions from advocates for increased safety reflect this.
Matt Krogh, of ForestEthics, the group which recently released a website where people can check if they are within the blast zone for the oil trains, released a statement telling the Obama administration to “go back to the drawing board and put public safety first.”
“Today the Obama administration announced weak new standards for high-hazard flammable trains that give the oil industry a license to threaten the safety of millions of Americans and leave communities and emergency responders holding the bag.
The administration seems to have carefully calculated and managed the inconvenience of these rules to the oil industry, but they’ve severely underestimated the threat of these trains to the American public.”
A review of the proposal reveals many things in the industry’s favor.