Payne Introduces Tank Car Safety and Security Act of 2015

Apr 15, 2015 Issues: Infrastructure and Transportation

Washington, D.C.  – Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) today introduced the Tank Car Safety and Security Act of 2015, legislation to strengthen the safety standards for DOT-111 tank cars that transport flammable liquids.

“The safety of New Jersey families is my top priority, which is why I have introduced the Tank Car Safety and Security Act,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “Transporting flammable liquids and other hazardous materials always carries risks, but it’s critical that shipments of these materials are as safe as possible in order to mitigate these risks and protect our communities.”

“As we saw from the recent unfortunate incident in West Virginia, the consequences of a derailed tank car carrying hazardous materials can be devastating, threatening water supplies and endangering the lives of many,” added Congressman Payne, Jr. “There is a clear need to ensure the safe transport of flammable liquids, and the Tank Car Safety and Security Act aims to do just that.”

On February 16, a train hauling crude oil derailed in West Virginia, shutting down water treatment plants and burning down a house. Tank car derailments have been an ongoing problem throughout the United States, including in New Jersey. In 2013, there were 116 crude-oil tank car incidents, according to the Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

The Tank Car Safety and Security Act of 2015 requires the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to revise federal standards for DOT-111 tank cars used to move flammable liquids. The legislation requires all cars to include an outer steel jacket as well as thermal protection, full-height head shields, and high-flow capacity pressure relief valves. Tank cars built after October 2011 must be updated to include high-flow capacity pressure relief valves and design modifications to prevent bottom outlets from opening in the event of an accident.

Additionally, the legislation requires the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to submit to Congress a plan to phase out older-model DOT-111 tank cars that are not retrofitted to meet the new safety standards. Finally, the Act directs the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator to issue a set of procedures to ensure that every rail car containing crude oil will not be left unattended when transferred from one carrier to the next.

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