Dem hints at legislation after train explosion in North Dakota

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) indicated that he may push for legislation to address Monday's train derailment and explosion in North Dakota.

A mile-long train hauling crude oil exploded North Dakota after hitting another train carrying grain that fell off the rails.

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DeFazio said he has long worried about trains that haul hazardous materials across the country. While the U.S. Department of Transportation is working on regulations to improve railroad safety, he said Congress may have to act more quickly.

"[A] rulemaking process will take months, if not years, and I don't think Congress can wait," he said. "There are upgrades that can be made to existing rail cars in the short-term, while the industry works to replace existing cars with new cars that meeting stronger standards."

DeFazio, who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, did not say what specific ideas he has in mind to improve railroad tank car safety. But he did say the government should do more as soon as possible.

"The federal government can and should be doing more to ensure that trains, often carrying hazardous materials and running right through populated areas, are not going to cause loss of life and property," he said. "As trains carry an increasing amount of hazardous materials, we need common sense rules and regulations to keep safety a priority."