DOT to move forward on crude-by-rail rules next week

The Department of Transportation is planning on sending a “comprehensive” package of proposals regarding rail shipments of crude oil to the White House for its review next week.

The proposals will include some options for improving the standards for tanker cars that carry crude oil, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a blog post late Thursday.

“We look forward to working collaboratively with [the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs] on the administration’s proposal and initiating the formal comment process as soon as possible,” Foxx wrote.

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After the White House approves the proposals, they can be published in the Federal Register for the public to comment on them.

Tanker car standards have been the subject of a great deal of attention after recent major crashes involving crude, such as one in Quebec in July that killed 47 and one in North Dakota in December.

The Transportation Department has not updated its standards for crude oil tankers in decades, despite calls from the rail and oil industries to do so.

Canada had used the same standards, but Canadian officials earlier this week said that older cars would have to be phased out by 2017.

Foxx’s announcement came shortly after he traveled to North Dakota to meet with local officials and members of Congress about crude-by-rail issues.