PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — More and more, trains with older, puncture-prone tanker cars are hauling highly-flammable crude and liquefied petroleum though our area, like in Downtown Pittsburgh and in Carnegie.
The concerns here and around the country were heightened by some spectacular and deadly derailments and explosions.
Sen. Bob Casey, of Pennsylvania, is an early voice for improved safety. He says officials in Washington DC are responding.
“I think as a result of what’s happened, the Department of Transportation – at my urging and the urging of others here in Washington and across the country – has embarked on a new effort,” said Sen. Casey.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued an emergency order concerning the transport of so-called Bakken Crude, highly-flammable oil from South Dakota and Montana that moves daily throughout our region.
The feds are requiring railroads to immediately notify state emergency coordinators of their cargo and urges them to use only the newer, crash-resistant tanker cars to transport this explosive crude.
In addition to tighter regulations, the Obama Administration is proposing an increase in the transportation budget to hire more train and track inspectors.
Sen. Casey applauds the efforts.
“I think there’s been a good effort made between the federal government and rail industry to have a more focused approach to this,” he said.
But in addition to the money and new regulations, Sen. Casey says everyone needs to be committed to ensure the safe transport of gas and oil.
“This will require a special kind of vigilance due to the contents of these rail cars, but I think we can get it right if we have the cooperation between federal and state agency and local communities as well,” Sen. Casey added.
In light of these recent accidents, tanker train safety is now front and center in Washington, where Casey and other lawmaker will keep pushing to make sure that change is on the way.
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