Friday, January 10, 2014

North Dakota U.S. Senators seek CBR safety

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North Dakota's two U.S. Senators met in Washington, D.C. Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, with federal officials to advance improved freight rail safety measures in tank car construction and operation.

Sen. John Hoeven and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, both Democrats, met with federal Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and with Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) chief Cynthia Quarterman on the matter.

A press release issued by Hoeven's office Jan. 9 emphasized Hoeven's efforts to "follow up on a letter Hoeven wrote a year ago asking Quarterman to expedite rules governing construction of new, safer tanker cars." Federal officials hope to make good on that following several high-profile incidents involving crude-by-rail (CBR) trains, including within North Dakota's Bakken region, where oil production continues to grow.

The release also noted, "Quarterman told Hoeven and Heitkamp that PHMSA has gathered samples of crude from the Bakken as well as from sites in Texas to help them determine a standard for rail car construction. The results of that test are expected within a couple of weeks, she said."

Foxx has pledged to visit the Bakken region to see the situation on the ground, Hoeven said following the meeting.