WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine called for improved safety for rail shipments of crude oil and increased collaboration with local first responders following last week’s derailment of 17 rail tank cars carrying crude oil in downtown Lynchburg.
An estimated 20,000 gallons of crude oil was released into the James River following last week’s derailment and resulting fire. The senators expressed their concerns in a letter today to U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) Secretary Anthony Foxx.
“Our constituents and stakeholders across the country are impacted by crude oil transport and deserve a voice in any potential regulation processes. We urge the Administration to move forward as quickly as possible with any proposed regulation so that the public can provide input and we can get meaningful safety standards in place,” the Senators wrote.
Additionally, the Senators urged the DoT to better communicate with communities about potentially hazardous materials being shipped by rail.
“Americans deserve to have information about potentially hazardous materials passing through their communities, and emergency personnel must be prepared to act quickly when accidents occur. Our first responders should not have to wait until they show up at an incident to understand the properties and magnitude of any hazardous materials involved,” they wrote.
The letter was also sent to the Office of Management and Budget at the White House, which will have a role in reviewing proposed regulations.