Crude-by-rail safety legislation introduced in House

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WASHINGTON — Legislation to force oil companies to decrease the volatility of crude oil shipped by rail has been introduced in Congress.

On Jan. 13, Reps. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.), and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) introduced the Crude by Rail Volatility Standard Act. The law would require shippers to bring the vapor pressure of Bakken crude down to 9.5 pounds per square inch. Vapor pressure can be reduced before crude is loaded by burning off or removing additional gases in the fuel. The 9.5 pounds per square inch standard would remain in place until the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration establishes new vapor pressure limits.

Since 2017, PHMSA has been looking at making 9 pounds per square inch the standard vapor pressure for crude oil transported by rail.

Garamendi says the legislation would safeguard the communities were crude oil is transported.

“Every day we delay the implementation of a stronger safety standard for the transport of Bakken crude oil-by-rail, lives are at risk,” Rep. Garamendi says. “My bill simply requires oil companies to decrease the volatility to market levels, rather than carrying unstable products through communities. I am committed to enacting this legislation into law this year as part of the surface transportation reauthorization.”

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