U.S. legislators from N.J. urged to back tougher standards for transporting oil by rail

Some New Jersey lawmakers are urging the state’s congressional delegation to support proposed federal regulations for rail tank cars that carry crude oil.

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Assemblywoman Donna Simon, and Senator Kip Bateman are concerned about the National Transportation Safety Board’s findings that many of the tankers have steel shells that aren’t thick enough to prevent perforation during a derailment.

The proposed regulations would require thicker tankers and enhanced braking systems for trains, Ciattarelli said.

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“This is really about public safety and about ensuring that there isn’t a tragedy within our communities in New Jersey and throughout the country,” he said. “The amount of crude oil that is being transported via rail car has increased 4,200 percent over the past six years.”

The new standards could prevent the kind of accident that occurred in Canada last year when substandard tanker cars derailed, burst into flames, and killed 47 people, said Ciattarelli.

An estimated seven million gallons of crude oil are shipped by rail from North Dakota through New Jersey every day.

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