On July 23, 2014, the Department of Transportation proposed a set of long-overdue rules to address the alarming increase in crude oil spills from rail cars. The rules, which are expected to be finalized next year, would phase out the oldest, most dangerous tanker cars starting in 2017, and would establish new, lower speed limits for transporting explosive fuels.
The proposed rules acknowledge the dangerous risks inherent in transporting oil by rail but do far too little, too late, and the process takes far too long. The proposed rules do not adequately address the immediate and growing threat posed by crude-by-rail accidents. That is why last week, the Sierra Club called for an immediate ban of the outdated and unsafe oil tank cars. The Department of Transportation needs to make the rails safe, not shelter the profit of dirty polluters.