Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner have offered high praise for the new train safety standards that were released by the Department of Transportation this week.
Both senators had called for federal regulators to speed the development of train safety rules after an oil train derailment in Lynchburg, Virginia (VA), which caused 17 CSX cars carrying crude oil to plunge into the James River. There were no injuries, but there was a large fire on the river, and this sparked a national debate about how to better safeguard the shipment of volatile Bakken crude oil.
Senator Kaine said that oil train derailments show that ensuring the safe transport of oil by rail demands the best technology and very close coordination with local communities.
That crash was just one of several derailments that involved Bakken crude in the last few years, including a wreck in Quebec that killed 47 people.
These crashes are happening more as more oil from the Bakken region in North Dakota is being shipped around the US. Production in the area has increased 300% since 2010. The oil is very volatile and it often is shipped more than 1000 miles to reach oil refineries on both coasts.
The cause of the derailment in Virginia still is not clear, but the national Transportation Safety Board should release a report in the near future.
The James River Association is an advocacy group for the James River, and it continues to review the new rail regulations.