The Department of Transportation has proposed tougher regulations on oil-carrying trains, including ethanol. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) focuses on tank car standards, classification and testing, as well as operational requirements for high-hazard flammable trains, such as braking and speed restrictions. The proposals are set to go into effect in two years, if approved.
"Safety is our top priority, which is why I've worked aggressively to improve the safe transport of crude oil and other hazardous materials since my first week in office," said Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx in a statement. "While we have made unprecedented progress through voluntary agreements and emergency orders, today's proposal represents our most significant progress yet in developing and enforcing new rules to ensure that all flammable liquids, including Bakken crude and ethanol, are transported safely."
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued the suggestions for regulation strengthening, which prompted the DOT's NPRM. The PHMSA also released a recent report on Bakken crude oil, which reports that Bakken crude tends to be more volatile and flammable that other crudes, expediting the need for enhanced safety through all oil and gas industry processes.
Improving transportation guidelines is only half of the solution to enhance oilfield, pipeline and transit safety. Firms need to focus on accident prevention and safety training to ensure the oil and gas industry is setting new standards in safety from drilling to delivery. Companies need to ensure the proper training is in place to keep their employees working in the safest conditions possible, while ensuring further safety down the supply chain. Bringing in safety experts for additional assessment and training can advance these efforts while ensuring that evolving regulations are met with full compliance.