Last year, Jeffrey Wiese, an official with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) told an industry conference that the regulatory process was “kind of dying.”
According to InsideClimate News, Wiese even mentioned that PHMSA was working on a YouTube channel to “persuade the industry to voluntarily improve its safety operations,” as this was one of the only ways it could attempt to improve safety.
PHMSA is the organization in charge of developing new regulations regarding the transportation of crude oil in rail tank cars.
This week, the Department of Transportation, along with PHMSA, announced its new safety advisory regarding the rail transport of Bakken crude oil. As another example of how the regulatory process is “kind of dying,” the advisory includes no new regulations regarding rail tank cars but “strongly urges” the oil and rail industry to use safer tank cars.
The advisory makes it clear that oil companies only have to be as safe as they can be while using the existing tank car “fleets” and that they should avoid using older DOT-111 cars to “the extent possible.”
The dangerous DOT-111 tank cars currently make up approximately 70 percent of the existing fleet of tank cars used for moving oil by rail.
This advisory is just the latest in a long stream of recent safety measures, both voluntary and regulatory.