Safe Transport Creating Pathways to California’s Energy Independence

Recycling Water from Oil Operations for Beneficial Reuse

The recent surge in American domestic energy is reshaping our nation’s energy landscape. Increased domestic oil and gas production has brought us closer to energy independence, created economic growth opportunities, renewed our manufacturing sector, slashed costs for consumers and businesses, and introduced stability to the U.S. energy market.

Increased production of crude oil and natural gas throughout North America is steadily replacing our dependency on foreign oil, oil that is often controlled by governments hostile to the United States and embroiled in conflict and upheaval. Recent geopolitical strife in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and Russia highlight the importance of shifting America’s energy supply from abroad to energy supplied by U.S. workers operating at home.

With the move towards domestic energy production well underway, California’s refineries are receiving more crude oil from North American production. Access to dependable supplies of North American crude oil is vital to Californians, who are the world’s third largest consumers of gasoline behind China and the United States as a whole. This access keeps California refineries producing clean burning fuel at the lowest price possible.

Crude oil transportation into California is limited to three options: ships arriving at California’s ports, pipelines, or trains from North American production fields. Supporting infrastructure projects that ensure the steady flow of affordable, abundant and dependable energy should be a priority for all Californians.

“Access to dependable supplies of North American crude oil is vital to Californians, who are the world’s third largest consumers of gasoline…”

Sources: PIIRA data, Energy Commission Analysis


Safety Is Our Top Priority

Safety Record
North America’s freight railroads move 99.998% of hazardous materials without incident, but the oil and natural gas industry’s goals for safety is always zero incidents and we are working to eliminate the last 0.002% risk out of our system.

Partnerships With Responders
Cooperate with and provide assistance to public safety officials; engage emergency responders on education opportunities

Upgraded Rail Cars
The industry is utilizing the next generation upgraded rail cars in compliance with federal standards.

Partnerships With Railroads & Regulators
Railroads are working with the U.S. Department of Transportation to comply with new speed reductions, improve braking, and increase frequency of track inspections.

Transparency and Reporting
The industry is working with regulators are constantly enhance reporting in order to ensure a rapid, coordinated response in the event of an oil spill.

Mutual Aid
The industry has a close working relationship with local emergency responders to share best practices and coordinate incident responses.


API supports stronger tank cards as one element of a holistic approach to enhancing safety. Tank cards for flammable liquids are built with enhanced safety features.

A. Tank Jacket
New tank cars are made of thicker normalized steel that reduces the chance of puncture.

B. Thermal Blanket
Thermal blankets provide added protection against exposure to extreme temperatures.

C. Top Fittings Protection
Top fittings protection houses the critical valves and fittings on the top of the tank and protects them from damage if cars are derailed.

D. Full-Height Head Shield
An extra 1/2-inch of steel is added to the ends of the tank cars to protect them from puncture.

E. Bottom Outlet
The bottom outlet valve handle is designed to prevent unintended opening if cars are derailed.

F. Reflective Tape
Tank cars are marked with reflective tape to enhance visibility.

Crude by Rail State Laws and Regulations


The state legislature, in 2015, passed a bipartisan bill (HB 1449) that requires weekly advance notification to emergency responders of upcoming oil train shipments and dedicates additional funding for oil train safety preparations.

Furthermore, the state is currently hiring more inspectors to check the condition of the rails in order to help efforts to prevent derailments. The Washington Department of Ecology’s rulemaking is currently underway to implement the crude by rail legislation. They are reviewing two proposed new rules to increase safety of transporting oil through the state by rail:

  1. Contingency Planning for Rail: a rule that would require railroads transporting crude or refined oil to submit oil spill response plans to the state for approval. Contingency plans show that railroads are prepared to respond to an oil spill immediately and effectively.
  2. Notice Requirements: a rule that focusing on notice requirements for facilities that receive bulk deliveries of crude by rail or pipelines that transport crude oil.

“The information would help affected communities ensure a rapid, coordinated response in the event of an oil spill.”



Governor Kitzhaber’s staff convened state agencies to address the need to (1) improve reporting requirements for all rail operators; (2) ensure continued availability of proper training for local fire departments, (3) continued training for State hazardous Materials Response Teams; and (4) maintain proper equipment for emergency responders.

The Office of the Oregon State Fire Marshal hosted a three-day conference in Seaside, Oregon, for emergency responders across the state for decontamination considerations as well as response to mercury, alternative fuel, pesticide, crude oil, and biological response operations.


HB 3225
Requires the State Fire Marshal to adopt a plan for coordinated response to oil or hazardous material spills or releases that occur during rail transport. A part of the agreement incorporated into HB 3225 is a $2 million agreement by Union Pacific Railroad, BNSF Railway and the State to fund more equipment.



SB 861
Significantly expands the Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR’s) regulatory authority over all oil spills in “waters of the state” (except groundwater). Specific emphasis placed on addressing spills that may result from crude-by-rail or pipeline activity. Provides increased revenues from an expanded per barrel fee that will increase funding for the Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) by an additional $11 million and create 38 permanent positions to prepare and prevent potential spills in waters of the state (marine and inland).

AB 1476
Provides a $10 million loan to fund regional railroad accident preparedness activities at OES.

AB 380
Requires new disclosure requirements for railroads that transport or receive any type of oil or crude product by rail transport, and requires railroads to maintain an emergency response communications center that can provide information on train composure. Beginning January 31, 2015, railroads must provide Office of Emergency Services (OES) data for the 25 largest hazardous material commodities and crude oil transported
through California, on a quarterly basis, to help emergency responders better prepare for potential rail events.


SB 84
Creates a new Regional Railroad and Surface Transportation Accident Preparedness and immediate Response Program to deal with potential incidents involving hazardous materials that are shipped by rail. This program provides funding, coordination and oversight of emergency response planning and safety programs within the Office of Emergency Services (OES) and local emergency responders. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services is currently in the process of finalizing regulations for SB 84.

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