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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Schumer wants oil companies to stabilize volatile crude before shipping

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) last week called on the U.S. Department of Transportation to issue an emergency order requiring oil companies to stabilize highly flammable crude oil before shipping it through New York.

Current law allows such oil to be shipped without being stabilized, making violent explosions far more likely, Schumer said in a press release.

"The damage that volatile, highly dangerous crude can cause in New York communities is tremendous, but there are important steps we can take to significantly lower the risk of a damaging explosion, like making crude oil less volatile before it's transported through our backyards,” said Schumer.

Schumer called for an emergency order on the heels of a crude oil train derailment in Oregon last month. Sixteen of the train's cars derailed, four caught fire and 40,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled. The train was carrying Bakken crude oil, which has been shown to be more volatile than other types of crude oil.

Bakken oil is shipped through New York, Schumer noted. He is advocating for strengthening tank-car standards to make punctures and breaches less likely — a "critical step" in making the transport of crude oil by rail a safer venture. However, making the crude oil itself less volatile before shipping is also needed, he said.

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More News from 7/6/2016