Representatives Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree talked to a top federal safety official today about new recommendations to improve the safety of freight trains carrying ethanol and crude oil. After a conversation with National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Deborah Hersman, Michaud and Pingree said the NTSB has recommended that railroads be required to create emergency response plans for worst case scenario accidents and that the rail lines be audited to make sure they are labeling shipments of crude oil correctly.
"As more and more crude oil gets carried by rail and more of it flows through Maine, better, smarter and stronger safety recommendations are needed," Michaud and Pingree said. "These are a good start."
Some of the tank cars in the Lac Megantic disaster last year were carrying crude oil but were not labeled correctly. In the wake of the disaster, Michaud and Pingree met with top federal safety officials and urged them to take action on improving rail safety.
"We are glad the NTSB is making these recommendations, but so far they are just that-- recommendations. The next step is to put some teeth in them and that is going to require the Obama Administration or Congress to act and turn the recommendations into new rules," Michaud and Pingree said.
More information on today's recommendations can be found at http://www.ntsb.gov/news/2014/140123.html