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U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) last week sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) urging the agency to as quickly as possible review the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) draft rule on phasing out or retrofitting DOT-111 tank cars used to transport crude oil.Federal regulators have suggested that the USDOT's final tank-car rule, which is due to the OMB soon, might take several months or longer to finalize, Schumer said in a press release. Currently, the OMB has five rules from the USDOT that have been under review for longer than 90 days, and rules at times have been held up at the office for months or even years, the senator claims. The OMB should not allow the tank-car rule "to be held up in bureaucracy," said Schumer.The senator believes the USDOT should stick with the planned two-year phaseout of the outdated tank cars and ensure that regulations surrounding crude-carrying tank cars are as stringent as possible."I have been fighting for well over a year now, since the Lac-Megantic disaster, to get the USDOT to issue a final rule requiring the phaseout or retrofitting of outdated tank cars, and they are finally on the doorstep. But these dangerous trains have not pulled into the station for good just yet,” said Schumer. "That is why I am renewing my push and urging the USDOT and OMB to require the most stringent regulations when it comes to these train cars and to finish the rulemaking process as soon as possible."The senator long has advocated for stricter regulations on DOT-111 cars, particularly the proposed two-year phaseout, because the cars are prone to ruptures and explosions during derailments, he said. The final rule also should include significant reductions in train speed, the toughest-possible tank car design standards and enhanced communication with local first responders, said Schumer.
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