The significantly increased production of crude oil in North America brings enormous opportunity to the West Coast. With a limited pipeline capacity available to move that crude to refining centers, rail transport has increased. It is vital that rail transport safely play a role in this new oil production that has the opportunity to greatly benefits businesses and consumers in the West.
North American crude oil by rail transport is essential to allowing Western consumers and businesses benefit from the energy renaissance that is taking place in the United States. Because of the increased crude oil production occurring throughout North America, the U.S. is in a position of achieving a level of energy security that has been unthinkable in recent years. This renaissance in energy production is responsible for a resurgence in American manufacturing, job creation and economic growth.
It is in the best interest of the U.S. and western states specifically to ensure we have the infrastructure in place to be able to safely benefit from this increased crude oil production.
With the goal of making a safe rail network even safer, the Association of American Railroads has joined the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in a new rail operations safety initiative that will institute operating practices for moving crude oil by rail in the United States. To further enhance the safety of rail transport, railroads will act on a number of issues including:
- Increased track inspections
- Braking systems
- Use of rail traffic routing technology
- Lower speeds
- Increased trackside safety technology
- Increased emergency response training and tuition assistance
- Emergency response capability planning
In addition to what the railroads have committed, the petroleum industry has also already begun further enhancing crude by rail standards and practices including:
- Voluntarily building next generation tank cars since 2011 that exceed federal standards.
- Enhanced emergency response training through Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response, a voluntary national effort that assists communities in preparing for and responding to incidents.
- Assembled top experts to develop a comprehensive standard for testing, classification, loading and unloading of crude oil based on the best available science and data.
The steps taken by the railroad and petroleum industries to further enhance some of the already safest and most strict safety practices signifies a commitment to the safest and most efficient rail transport of materials and goods, including crude oil.
Catalyst | July 9, 2014
KCRW | June 18, 2014