Senators ask for new rail-car standards; U.S. transportation secretary on board

On the day Sen. Doug Ericksen and Sen. Steve O’Ban sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx with grave concerns regarding the safety of rail cars carrying crude oil through Washington, Foxx announced new rail-car standards will be proposed this week.

“As we transition off of oil imports from the Mid-East and move to real energy independence, it is vital that we take steps to make it clear that we take oil transport safety seriously.  We have the best marine oil transport safety system in the world and now we need to apply new safety standards to oil cars carry crude oil. Sen. O’Ban started this process with legislation in January.  Now the federal government is listening and taking steps to improve safety,” said Ericksen, R-Ferndale.

“It’s a promising first step,” said O’Ban, R-Pierce County. “Our communities have seen an uptick in oil transport by rail, making it critical that we have modern rail cars designed to transport flammable materials.”

During the recently completed legislative session, O’Ban and Ericksen sponsored Senate Joint Memorial 8015, a measure asking Congress to improve standards for rail cars that carry flammable liquids. Voted unanimously out of the Senate, the legislation failed to receive consideration from the full House of Representatives before the Legislature adjourned March 13.