Schumer wants faster oil train changes than Obama

Schumer wants faster oil train changes than Obama
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Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump defends 'crime buster' Giuliani amid reported probe Louisiana voters head to the polls in governor's race as Trump urges GOP support Trump urges Louisiana voters to back GOP in governor's race then 'enjoy the game' MORE (D-N.Y.) is introducing legislation to require faster implementation of a series of regulations regarding the transportation of crude oil that were unveiled last week by the Obama administration.  

Schumer's legislation would require freight rail companies to phase out older rail cars that have been blamed for numerous high-profile disasters within two years, instead of the eight-year deadline that was set by the Obama administration. 

Schumer said he is offering the legislation because it is too unsafe to keep the older rail cars that carry explosive materials like oil on the nation's rails until the 2023 deadline that has been set by the Obama administration.  

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“Allowing these outdated oil cars to continue rolling through our communities for another eight years is a reckless gamble that we can't afford to make," he said in a statement. 

"For far too long, the rail and oil industries have taken advantage of the lack of rules by making excuse after excuse to delay phasing-out the dangerous and outdated tanker cars," he continued. "While the DOT's announcement has finally forced the industry’s hands to update these rules, there is no question that the new rules don't go far enough."  

The regulations announced by the Department of Transportation (DOT) last Friday are a comprehensive set of standards regarding rail car design, braking ability, speed limits and other provisions that were developed over months, amid pressure from lawmakers hungry for a crack down on the freight rail and oil industries.

Under the rules, all railcars currently carrying ethanol and crude oil will have to be phased out within seven years or retrofitted, and the new standards will start later this year for newly constructed railcars.

The new standards include thicker steel shells, enhanced braking systems and guards to protect the ends of tank cars and their valves.

The DOT is also mandating new standards for routing oil trains, speed limits and efforts to better prepare emergency responders and communities where oil trains travel.

Schumer said Monday that the new rules take too long to address the central problem with oil train shipments: the quality of the cars that are carrying the flammable material. 

“Letting these unsafe DOT-111s move the same extremely explosive oil we saw in the Lac Mègantic disaster for another eight years, is both careless and indefensible; and allowing the similarly dangerous unjacketed CPC-1232 cars to remain in service for another five to eight years is simply put, unfathomable,” he said. 

The Obama administration has defended the proposed oil train regulations as a sensible approach to a large problem. 

“Our goal and what we accomplished is to create a comprehensive approach to safety that will prevent accidents from happening, that will mitigate damage if they do and support emergency response,” Transportation Secretary Anthony FoxxAnthony Renard FoxxBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Lyft sues New York over new driver minimum pay law Lyft confidentially files for IPO MORE told reporters in a news conference last week.

Foxx said then that the new set of rules “significantly improves current regulations and requirements. 

"It will make transporting flammable materials by rail safer than it is today,” he said. 

-Timothy Cama contributed to this report.