04.10.15

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Applauds Federal Oil Train Safety Recommendations

NTSB Backs Call to Take Unsafe Tank Cars off the Tracks

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today applauded the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for issuing urgent recommendations to remove the most dangerous tank cars from crude oil service.

The NTSB recommendations call for an aggressive schedule to replace or retrofit the current rail car fleet with better protection against fires. Senator Baldwin has introduced legislation that also calls for an aggressive schedule to immediately halt the use of older-model tank cars and additionally calls for additional strong safety standards for trains hauling volatile crude oil.

“I’m glad to see the NTSB agrees that we must take immediate action to phase out the most dangerous tank cars carrying crude oil through our communities,” said Senator Baldwin. “It is critical that appropriate safety measures are in place to reduce the risk of deadly accidents as more and more volatile crude oil moves through Wisconsin and our country. I again urge the Obama Administration to follow suit with bold and expeditious action to prevent future oil train tragedies from occurring.”

The urgent recommendations from the NTSB, an independent federal agency put forth by Congress to promote transportation safety, corroborate the concerns voiced by Senator Baldwin in letters to the Obama Administration urging immediate action to address oil train safety.

Earlier in March, Senator Baldwin sent a letter to President Obama urging the Administration to issue final guidance to address oil train safety. The letter also includes specific proposals to strengthen the recommended rules after recent accidents, including one on March 5th in neighboring Galena, Illinois, have demonstrated the need for improvements. 

In January, Senator Baldwin urged the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) and PHMSA to finalize a rule to increase oil tank car safety after the agencies missed their deadline. The agencies were required by law to have completed the rule by January 15, 2015.  Senator Baldwin provided public comments on the proposed rule in a letter to DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx and PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman in 2014.

More information on Senator Baldwin’s efforts to improve Wisconsin rail safety is available here.