Monday, March 3, 2014

A Tale Of 2 Governors: After Feds Declare Oil Trains Imminent Hazard, Feds Do Too Little, Cuomo Acts But Corbett Sleeps

The federal government declared last week oil trains carrying North Dakota Crude to be an imminent hazard to public safety.  That declaration makes clear the danger rumbling through communities.

Yet, the stark federal warning of danger, however, underlines the inadequacy of federal action to make oil trains carrying North Dakota crude safe.  Federal regulators merely required testing of each oil shipment and banned the use of the very worst or oldest tankers to ship it...just 3% of the tanker fleet.

To be clear, the federal government did not ban the transport of the world's most explosive crude in non-puncture resistant tankers. Indeed, this morning North Dakota crude in large quantities is traveling in non-puncture resistant tankers, with the irresponsible blessing of federal regulators. Those tankers have been used in 4 explosive train derailments that have killed 47 people so far.

Not willing to rely on the federal government, Governor Cuomo is acting to protect New Yorkers as large numbers of these trains rumble through the Empire state.

Unlike Governor Cuomo, Governor Corbett does nothing to protect Pennsylvanians, even though the Commonwealth is the destination for 20% of the trains that the feds call an imminent hazard to public safety.  Corbett's inaction is a dereliction of duty.

At this point, both federal and state officials should require that North Dakota oil be transported only in puncture-resistant tankers. Unless and until they take that action, they are enabling the next oil train explosion!