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RFA Commends DOT for Setting Rule that Enhances Rail Safety While Prioritizing Crude Oil Retrofits

May 2, 2015


WASHINGTON Today, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) released a final rule that requires a phase out or retrofit of all DOT-111 railcars transporting crude oil and ethanol over the next eight years (by May 2023). Specifically, the rule requires a phase out or retrofit of all unjacketed CPC-1232 railcars used to ship ethanol by July 2023. Additionally, a new tank car standard has been put in place that establishes the DOT-117 as the new railcar to ship oil and ethanol. The DOT-117 includes a 9/16 inch steel hull, roll over protection, full height head shields, top fitting protection, and jacketing with thermal protection. Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, released the following statement applauding the DOT for recognizing the difference between ethanol and oil and prioritizing oil train retrofits: Based on an initial review of the final rule, the Department of Transportation should be commended for issuing a final rule that reflects public comments and takes a comprehensive approach to rail safety, including accident prevention, mitigation, and response. Secretary Foxx appears to have struck a fair balance in setting comprehensive standards while at the same time being sensitive to the limitation of retrofit capacity by giving less hazardous flammables like ethanol additional time to retrofit railcars. Last September, RFA highlighted a number of issues in our comments on the proposed rule that have been addressed today. We applaud the Department of Transportation for working to harmonize these regulations with Canada; for adopting a risk-based approach that prioritizes the most dangerous and highly-volatile flammables like crude oil while giving medium hazard liquids like ethanol additional time to come into compliance, for recognizing the limitations of the retrofit capacity, and, for establishing a regular reporting process for the retrofit schedule. The Department has also taken a very important step by requiring the petroleum industry to better identify and classify highly-volatile crude oil for shipment. The U.S. ethanol industry is committed to the safe transport of our product and is proud of our safety record. The additional requirements we face will be costly, but the additional time to comply is certainly welcome. Todays final rulemaking is a huge step forward in rail safety and the Department of Transportation should be recognized for taking a practical and realistic approach.