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Lowey Applauds Dramatic Increase In Enforcement Of Rail Safety Rules

U.S. Rep. Nita M. Lowey
U.S. Rep. Nita M. Lowey Photo Credit: File

CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. -- The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration’s recent dramatic increase in enforcement of rail safety rules on routes carrying passengers or shipments of crude oil and hazardous materials was praised from Rep. Nita M. Lowey (Westchester/Rockland).

The administration's actions revealed 6,485 violations carrying civil penalties against railroads last year, up 23 percent from the previous year.

“Strict safety standards exist for a reason, and I’m glad the Federal Railroad Administration is holding railroads accountable for adhering to these regulations,” said Lowey. “Tank cars carry highly volatile crude oil through American communities each day, including through Rockland County. No one should have to live with dangerous explosive materials rumbling through their back yards. As Ranking Member on the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue working to protect homeowners, schools, and businesses from the dangers of hazardous materials shipped by rail.”

The National Transportation Safety Board made the recommendations last year after Lowey sent letters to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Foxx and President Barrack Obama urging stronger regulations for crude oil transport.

In addition, Lowey successfully included an amendment in the recent government spending bill signed into law in December to direct the Department of Energy to examine methods to reduce the volatility of crude oil prior to shipment. She also introduced a proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives that would immediately ban interstate shipment of high-volatility crude oil via rail, and direct federal agencies to set a national standard for crude volatility when shipped on the nation’s rail networks.

Lowey is also an original co-sponsor of the Crude-by-Rail Safety Act that would authorize $40 million for first responder training programs, establish grants for local communities to update emergency response plans, and improve emergency notification procedures.

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