"The new standards include thicker steel shells, enhanced braking systems and guards to protect the ends of tank cars and their valves," Cama writes. "DOT is also mandating new standards for routing oil trains, speed limits and efforts to better prepare emergency responders and communities where oil trains travel." Canada committed to similar rules; some oil-train traffic crosses the border.
While Foxx said 99.9 percent of shipments reach their destinations safely, there has been a recent rash of derailments. More oil was spilled from trains in the U.S. in 2013 than in the previous 37 years, and 47 people in Quebec died from the derailment of a train running from North Dakota to Maine. The oil boom in areas such as North Dakota and Texas has also led to a 4,000 percent increase in oil train shipments since 2008, Cama writes.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) said "it needed more time to review the final rules before passing judgement, but it welcomed the actions," Cama writes. API President Jack Gerard said in a statement: “As we review these rules, the key question is whether science and data show each change will make a meaningful improvement to safety." (Read more)