Larsen Hears Constituent Concerns, Takes Post on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee

Jan 21, 2015 Issues: Transportation

Position will give Larsen more oversight over railways

WASHINGTON—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, will take a position on the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Larsen requested this new Subcommittee assignment in response to growing concerns in Northwest Washington about rail safety and traffic impacts.

“People in Northwest Washington have shared with me their concerns over the last year about the increase in trains carrying crude oil on rail lines near their communities. These concerns about safety and traffic congestion make complete sense, and I share them too. That is why I chose to become a member of the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Serving on this Subcommittee will allow me more oversight of our country’s rail lines and will better position me to help strengthen the rail infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest.

“I spent the last year working with everyone I could—from local, state and federal officials to industry experts and first responders to hearing from community members—to learn and to push for higher safety standards. I was able to connect first responders from our area with free trainings sponsored by the rail industry to help them understand how to handle a potential incident. And I pushed the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve the standards for tank cars carrying crude oil. Final rules should be out soon. Know that I will scrutinize them closely, and I am prepared to work with my colleagues on legislation if the rules are not strong enough.

“There is more work to do to make sure our communities are as safe as possible and that our transportation infrastructure enables traffic on both roadways and railways to move safely and efficiently. I am better positioned to get this work done for the people of the Pacific Northwest in my new role on the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee,” Larsen said.

The Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee has jurisdiction over the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which is in charge of writing rules to safely transport hazardous materials like crude oil, the Federal Railroad Administration, which governs railroad operations, and the Surface Transportation Board (STB), which governs disputes between shippers and rail companies.

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