POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – New York State Senator Terry Gipson (D-Dutchess, Putnam) lauded the U.S. Department of Transportation for proposing new safety measures for the transportation of crude oil. In May of this year, Senator Gipson issued a letter to federal representatives urging the federal government to take “immediate, concrete and substantial action to protect our communities, our environment and our economy from the very real and ongoing risks of crude oil transportation on railways, specifically along the Hudson River.”

“Our federal, state and local officials have worked together to influence change in order to protect our communities in the Hudson Valley from the risks associated with transporting crude oil along the Hudson River,” said Senator Gipson. “The Department of Transportation’s actions will ensure that the needed transportation of crude oil continues, while taking the necessary steps to ensure greater safety standards.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s announcement stated that their proposal includes: “enhanced tank car standards, a classification and testing program for mined gases and liquids and new operational requirements for high-hazard flammable trains (HHFT) that include braking controls and speed restrictions. Specifically, within two years, it proposes the phase out of the use of older DOT 111 tank cars for the shipment of packing group I flammable liquids, including most Bakken crude oil, unless the tank cars are retrofitted to comply with new tank car design standards. The ANPRM seeks further information on expanding comprehensive oil spill response planning requirements for shipments of flammable materials. Both the NPRM and ANPRM are available for review here and will be open for 60 days of public comment. Given the urgency of the safety issues addressed in these proposals, PHMSA does not intend to extend the comment period.”

In Senator Gipson’s May letter, he highlighted the need to end the use of DOT-111s in transporting crude oil of any kind along with other needed measures. In making his case, Senator Gipson pointed to the derailment and explosion of a train carrying crude oil in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia on April 30th, 2014, which spilled oil into the James River. Even more recently, on May 9th, 2014, a train carrying crude oil outside of Denver, Colorado was involved in an accident in which six cars derailed spilling approximately 6,500 gallons of crude oil.

“The impact of an oil train incident along the shore of the Hudson River would be devastating to our communities who rely on the river for their drinking water and our local economy,” said Senator Gipson. “These are common sense proposals to further protect the people of the Hudson Valley and our natural resources while allowing business to continue.”


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