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Feinberg: Crude-by-rail rule to be finalized ‘in the coming weeks’

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Sarah Feinberg

Washington – A final rule intended to improve the safety of crude oil transport by rail is being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget and should be finalized “in the coming weeks,” Federal Railroad Administration Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg said April 14 during a hearing of the House Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee.

The rule is expected to contain strengthened standards for new and existing rail cars that transport the volatile liquid across the country.

Feinberg was joined by two other witnesses: Timothy P. Butters, acting administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration; and Christopher A. Hart, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA) questioned why no crude-by-rail rule had been published in the four years after the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act.

Feinberg said a slow, arduous rulemaking process made it difficult to issue new standards. Several recent derailments and fiery crashes have prompted calls for the Department of Transportation to require tank cars to feature thicker, stronger shells. NTSB recently issued four urgent recommendations after the series of derailments.