U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Calls for Oil Rail Car Safety Rule to be Finalized

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (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.

“While I appreciate the agencies’ thoroughness when drafting in this important rule, every day we wait to finalize this rule is a day in which outdated tank cars carry volatile crude oil through Wisconsin—exposing our citizens and environment to danger,” said Senator Baldwin. “I urge the DOT and PHMSA to adopt the stringent safety recommendations that I, along with Rep. Ron Kind, called for in our public comment on the rule.”

In September 2014, Senator Baldwin and U.S. Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) provided public comments on the proposed rule in a letter to DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx and PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quarterman.

Baldwin and Kind wrote, “As more and more volatile crude oil moves through Wisconsin via rail, it is critical that appropriate safety measures are in place to reduce the risk of deadly accidents.”

The bipartisan appropriations bill passed in December 2014 mandated the release of the DOT/PHMSA rule on rail cars shipping oil by January 15, 2015. The agencies announced that they will also miss their original late projection of March and are projected to release the rule in May.

Throughout 2014 and into 2015, Senator Baldwin has advocated on behalf of Wisconsinites and called for action to improve railroad conditions in the state. A detailed record of Senator Baldwin’s rail safety advocacy can be found online here.