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Baldwin Backs Plan To Immediately Scrap Aging Oil Tank Cars

Rail Industry Argues For Existing DOT Phase-Out

photolibrarian (CC-BY-NC-ND)

One of Wisconsin’s U.S. senators is joining other Senate Democrats in supporting a bill that would immediately ban older tank cars for trains hauling crude oil.

The Crude-By-Rail Safety Act would also require safer tank car designs that include thermal protection.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin said regulators aren’t moving fast enough to protect communities where crude is shipped.

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“It’s very clear from the derailments and explosions we’ve seen across the United States in recent weeks that this has to happen at a more rapid pace,” said Baldwin.

Association of American Railroads spokesman Ed Greenberg said major freight railroads support a major overhaul of tank cars.

“We believe every tank car moving crude oil today should be phased out or built to a higher standard,” he said.

But Greenberg said the ARA believes changes to federal rules guiding tank car standards will do just that, and that a separate bill isn’t needed. The U.S. Department of Transportation was set to finalize those rules in January, but that’s now been put off until May.