Casey Pushes for Tougher Oil Train Regulations

Proposed rules would phase out the use of older tank cars.

Sen. Bob Casey is pushing to expedite a new federal regulation intended to increase the safety of oil-carrying trains that roll through Philadelphia on their way to the city’s refineries.

Pittsburgh Business Times reports:

Add Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) to the list of senators who are pushing for an expedited review of a draft rule that would require older railroad tanker cars be phased out or retrofitted.

Casey’s office said he’ll be sending a letter asking that the Office of Management and Budget move quickly in finalizing the rule and publishing it. The rule comes in the wake of tanker car explosions hauling shale oil. The proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Transportation aims to improve railroad safety by getting rid of requiring improvements to the older DOT-111 railroad tankers.

The safety of oil-carrying trains — known perjoratively by activists as “bomb trains”— has been of increasing concern in Philadelphia after two incidents over the last year: In in the first, oil tankers on a train crossing the Schuylkill River derailed on the bridge; in the second incident — just a few weeks ago — 11 cars from an 111-car train derailed in South Philly.

There were no injuries in either derailment, but oil-carrying trains have proven dangerous. A 2013 explosion killed 47 people in Quebec. And earlier this month, oil tankers in West Virginia derailed and exploded.

One problem? The cars in the West Virginia were of a newer — supposedly tougher — model than the DOT-1111 cars facing federal regulation.

The regulation, on its current timetable, is currently due in May.