Jaime Herrera Beutler reintroduces legislation to reinstate federal oil train safety standard

Bill reinstates federal requirement that trains carrying oil, flammable liquids must update braking system

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler reintroduced legislation today to reinstate stronger U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) safety regulations for oil trains.

Jaime’s bill, the Oil and Flammable Material Rail Transportation Safety Act, would reinstate USDOT’s 2015 safety requirement, which it had revoked last year. The 2015 regulation mandated trains carrying oil or other flammable liquids at speeds greater than 30 miles per hour update their current air-controlled brakes with electronically-controlled brakes. The current air-braking system oil trains use today has been around for a century, calling into question whether the brakes are reliable enough to safely transport hazardous materials across the country.

“With trains carrying hazardous materials through Southwest Washington, it is paramount we increase safety for the nearby communities,” Jaime said. “I’m committed to reversing the decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation to ease this critical safety regulation, and reinstating the braking upgrade requirement for trains carrying flammable liquids.”

“As a community that has oil trains regularly running through our commercial areas, neighborhoods and downtown, Vancouver is very supportive and appreciative of Congresswoman Herrera Beutler’s efforts to reinstate the requirement that oil trains transition to the much more effective electronic pneumatic brakes,”Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle said.