Press Releases

Larsen, Washington State Delegation Urge Quick Action on Crude-by-Rail Rule

Today Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, led the Washington state Congressional delegation in asking the administration to move quickly in releasing a draft rule addressing standards for tank cars carrying crude oil by rail.

The Department of Transportation submitted a proposal for safe crude-by-rail transport to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs last week.

The letter states the delegation’s concern for the issue “because many trains carrying crude oil pass through the communities we represent on their way to refineries in Washington state.”

Larsen previously has pressed the administration to implement measures to protect communities near trains carrying crude oil.

Full text of the letter follows.

May 6, 2014

Ms. Sylvia Mathews Burwell


The Office of Management and Budget

725 17th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20503

Dear Director Burwell:

We urge you to quickly consider draft rules submitted to your agency last week regarding the standards for tank cars carrying crude oil by rail.  These rules are critical for protecting public safety.

Several recent tragic incidents involving trains carrying crude oil in North America make it clear that stronger standards for tank cars are needed. We are particularly concerned about this issue because many trains carrying crude oil pass through the communities we represent on their way to refineries in Washington state.

We understand that the contents of a draft rule will not be released until your agency approves one. It is important to issue it quickly so that the public can offer improvements during the mandatory comment period.  We believe that your agency’s quick action can help lead to a strong final rule.

Several shippers have indicated that their ability to make long-term investments in safer tank cars is hindered by the continuing regulatory uncertainty about safety standards.  They have also told us that confidence in the content of the standards and how they will be enforced will result in a faster transition to newer, safer cars.

Last week’s train derailment in Lynchburg, Virginia underscores the importance of quick action on this issue. We ask that your agency quickly review and issue strong rail car safety rules so that the public and stakeholders can offer comment and this process can continue to move forward.


Rick Larsen

Member of Congress

Doc Hastings

Member of Congress

Jim McDermott

Member of Congress

Dave Reichert

Member of Congress

Adam Smith

Member of Congress

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Member of Congress

Jaime Herrera Beutler

Member of Congress

Suzan DelBene

Member of Congress

Denny Heck

Member of Congress

Derek Kilmer

Member of Congress