Washington, D.C. – Throughout 2014 and into 2015, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has advocated on behalf of Wisconsinites and called for action to improve rail safety and railroad conditions in the state.
Baldwin’s advocacy for rail safety includes:
April 4, 2014 – Baldwin writes to the Appropriations Committee to raise awareness of the increase of combustible oil traveling through the Midwest.
In the letter, Baldwin urged the committee to improve design and safety standards and increase funding for the Safe Transportation of Energy Products Fund. This funded first responder training along rail routes and increased research and inspection of rail lines.
July 17, 2014 – Baldwin calls on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a public hearing on the expansion of rail lines in the La Crosse area.
Baldwin called for the meeting on behalf of community members concerned about the rail expansion’s impact on the La Crosse River Marsh.
July, 21, 2014 – Baldwin co-sponsors the RESPONSE Act.
The RESPONSE Act would form a subcommittee under FEMA’s National Advisory Council to bring together relevant agencies, emergency responders, technical experts and the private sector for a review of training, resources, best practices and unmet needs related to emergency responders to railroad hazmat incidents.
September 18, 2014 – Baldwin writes to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration.
Baldwin was joined by U.S. Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) in writing to the U.S. Department of Transportation and Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration urging the agencies to strengthen their proposed rules on the transportation of crude oil via railroad.
September 22, 2014 – Baldwin meets with Citizens Acting for Rail Safety (CARS).
In the meeting with local stakeholders, Baldwin viewed pictures of BNSF bridges in the La Crosse area that are in various states of disrepair.
September 30, 2014 – Baldwin urges the Federal Railroad Administration to immediately inspect the bridges in question.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) inspected the bridges the following week. Following the inspection, the FRA sent a letter to Senator Baldwin reporting the bridges are “safe for continued railroad service,” and that BNSF is adequately meeting inspection requirements.
December 4, 2014 –Baldwin meets with BNSF President and CEO Carl Ice
Senator Baldwin expressed her serious concerns with crude oil being shipped by rail on deteriorating bridges in western Wisconsin. She called on BNSF to hasten its bridge replacement.
December 13, 2014 – Baldwin supports the bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations Bill.
The bipartisan appropriations bill mandates the release of the DOT/PHMSA rule on rail cars shipping oil by January 15, 2015, two months earlier than DOT’s most recent timeline for completing the rule. The bill also includes:
- $2 million for the design, testing, and evaluation of safer oil tank rail cars. This funding will increasing the rate at which obsolete and dangerous tank cars are removed from service. Baldwin advocated for both provisions in her public comments on the DOT/PHMSA proposed rule.
- $187 million for safety and operations at the Federal Railroad Administration.
- $3 million for the automated track inspection program, including amounts for automated car for inspection of crude oil routes and $370,000 for five new safety inspectors at FRA.
- $10 million in grants for track improvements and crossings on routes that transport crude oil.
- $28 million for emergency preparedness grants that can be used for training for hazardous material accidents on railroads.
- $39.1 million for railroad research and development.
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement today on President Obama’s announcement that he intends to nominate Allan R. Landon to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System:
“I am encouraged by the White House announcement that President Obama intends to nominate Allan R. Landon, a former community banker, to serve as a Governor of the Federal Reserve System. In April, I wrote to President Obama highlighting the important role that community banks play in our nation’s economy and urged him to nominate a candidate with experience in that field. For too long our nation’s small financial institutions, who serve Main Streets across the country and throughout Wisconsin, have not had a seat at the table.”
An online version of the letter sent to President Obama in April can be found here.
In December, Baldwin announced her opposition to the nomination of Antonio Weiss for Undersecretary of Treasury for Domestic Finance and her position was praised by the Independent Community Bankers of America.
“The Independent Community Bankers of America and the more than 6,500 community banks thank Senator Baldwin for her opposition to the nomination of Antonio Weiss for undersecretary for domestic finance,” ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine said. “We are pleased Senator Baldwin agrees with us that the Treasury position requires someone with a broad background in financial services who understands community financial institutions and their important place in our nation’s economy. We appreciate Senator Baldwin’s support of Main Street.”
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Tammy sent a letter to President Obama prior to his trip to China this week for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. She advocated for Wisconsin manufacturing and promoted a level playing field for American businesses and workers, highlighting four policy priorities: addressing currency manipulation, protecting intellectual property, preserving ‘Buy American’ requirements in trade agreements and supporting enforcement on unfair trade practices.
A copy of the letter can be found here.
Tammy delivered testimony this morning at a hearing of the International Trade Commission (ITC) on behalf of a Wisconsin paper company, Appvion of Appleton. The purpose of her attendance at the hearing was to highlight the importance of the paper industry in Wisconsin and to address an important trade matter that impacts Appvion, a pulp and paper mill that manufactures and sells coated paper products world-wide and employs 1,644 employees in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
"Senator Baldwin was among the first to support our fight for a level playing field on which to compete when we began the process in 2007. We appreciate the Senator's strong and ongoing efforts to protect Wisconsin manufacturing jobs by ensuring a fair and competitive marketplace," said Mark Richards, CEO Appvion.
The Appleton-based paper company was a petitioner in a 2008 antidumping investigation on imports of lightweight thermal paper from China and Germany. As a result of the investigation, antidumping duties were imposed on imports from Germany and China and countervailing duties were imposed on imports from China. Antidumping duties are put in place for five years. After the initial five-year period, the Department of Commerce and the ITC review the duties and determine if revoking them would likely lead to continuation or recurrence of dumping, and to what extent the domestic marketplace would be harmed. In February, the U.S. Department of Commerce found that dumping by German and Chinese thermal paper producers would likely continue if the duties were revoked. Today, the ITC heard testimony about how the domestic marketplace is impacted by dumped imports.
“In Wisconsin, we have one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the nation, supporting a large share of our workforce and exporting goods all over America and the world. Wisconsinites work hard and play by the rules. Whether it’s making paper products, diesel engines or navy ships, when Wisconsin manufacturers compete on a level playing field, more often than not, they win,” Tammy said, “Appvion and their employees have played by the rules of international trade and have done quite well. However, they are under constant threat from foreign companies that play by a different set of rules and quite frankly, companies that cheat”
Tammy’s testimony from this morning’s hearing can be found here.
In May, Tammy testified before the International Trade Commission on behalf of Wisconsin stainless pipe manufacturer, Felker Brothers of Marshfield, in a pending anti-dumping investigation.