Three congressional representatives from New York are calling on the federal government to strengthen oversight of crude oil transport. They say the rapid escalation of train transport of crude oil throughout their districts has prompted concern.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey, along with Democratic Congressmen Paul Tonko and Bill Owens, have written to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, urging the DOT to take a range of actions to improve rail safety and reduce the risks of crude oil transport. Lowey, the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, cites two recent incidents in the Hudson Valley as cause for concern – one in Rockland County, which she represents. In December, a CSX freight train collided with a truck near West Nyack. And earlier this week, the engine of a CSX train derailed in Ulster. Both had empty cars that had carried oil. In their letter to DOT, the representatives highlight a January safety alert from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration saying crude oil being transported from the Bakken region in North Dakota may be more flammable than traditional heavy crude oil.