You are on page 1of 3

THE ASSEMBLY

STATE OF NEW YORK


ALBANY

November 2,2016
Hon. Marie Therese Dominguez
Administrator
U.S. Department of Transportation
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
East Building, 2nd Floor
Mail Stop: E27-300
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590
Re: Support for the New York Attorney General's December 1,2015, Petition for Rulemaking to
Amend the Requirements for the Operation of High-Hazard Flammable Trains (Petition Number P1669)
Dear Administrator Dominguez:
We write in strong support of the petition for rulemaking filed by New York State Attorney General,
Eric Schneiderman, on December 1,2015, requesting that the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials
Safety Administration (PHMSA) establish a federal vapor pressure standard for crude oil shipped by
rail within the United States (Petition Number P-I669). We urge you to find that the petition does, in
fact, justify a rulemaking under 49 CFR 106.105 and commence a rulemaking action.
As the transport of crude oil by rail has grown over the years, New York State has become a major
hub for oil shipments. As the Attorney General notes in the petition, it has been estimated that
approximately twenty percent of the Bakken crude oil shipped by rail has come through New York.
Traversing 1,000 miles of rails throughout the State, these crude oil shipments present significant
public safety, health, environmental, and economic risks to numerous residential and commercial
centers and sensitive resources along the shipping routes.
While we recognize that PHMSA has taken some action in recent years that try to begin to address
some of the safety issues associated with antiquated tank cars, there is much more the needs to be
done to protect our communities. Unfortunately, PHMSA delayed the implementation schedule for
those initial regulatory actions and did not address the volatility of crude oil. Moreover, it is unclear
whether these new standards would have prevented many of the recent disastrous rail accidents
involving crude oil. Short of accelerating the retirement of demonstrably unsafe vessels and
prohibiting the transport of high hazard flammable materials by rail, regulating the volatility of crude
oil transported throughout the country by limiting the Reid vapor pressures of the crude prior to
transport could help lessen the potential for explosions along shipping routes.
Accordingly, we support the Attorney General's request for the establishment ofa federal Reid vapor
pressure limit for crude oil transported by rail in the United States at a level that is less than 9.0
pounds per square inch and urge PHMSA to proceed expeditiously to a rulemaking action.

As demonstrated by this summer's accident in Mosier, Oregon, crude train accidents-and


explosions and fires of highly volatile crude oil-will continue to occur. New York filed the
Petition eleven months ago. The Mosier accident took place six months after PHMSA received the
Petition P-1669, and we request that you initiate a transparent rulemaking proceeding as requested
by the Petition.
We thank you for your attention to this matter and look forward to your response.
Sincerely,

Patricia Fahy
Member of Assembly 109th AD

Amy R. Paulin
Chair, Energy Committee
Member of Assembly
District

ss"

Steven Englebright
Chair, Environmental Conservation Cmte.
Member of Assembly 4th AD

Brian Kavanagh
Chair, Caucus of Environmental Legislators
Member of Assembly 74th AD

~~ Qr;k(flt-Rebecca A. Seawright
Member of Assembly 76th AD

Jo Anne Simon
Member of Assembly 52nd AD

Joseph R. Lentol
Member of Assembly

David Buchwald
Member of Assembly 93rd AD

so" AD

;-t/~
Frank K. Skartados
Member of Assembly l04th AD

Richard N. Gottfried
Member of Assembly 75th AD

Michelle Schimel
Member of Assembly 16thAD

Thomas J. Abinanti
Member of Assembly 92nd AD

Donna A. Lupardo
Member of Assembly 123rd AD

John T. McDonald, III


Member of Assembly 108th AD

Linda Rosenthal
Member of Assembly 6th AD

Deborah J. Glick
Member of Assembly 66th AD

Kenneth P. Zebrowski
Member of Assembly 96th AD

Ellen Jaffee
Member of Assembly

Marcus Crespo
Member of Assembly 85th AD

Sandra R. Galef
Member of Assembly 95th AD

Aileen M. Gunther
Member of Assembly 100th AD

Steven Otis
Member of Assembly 91 st AD

Shelley Mayer
Member of Assembly 90th AD
Cc:

Andrew M. Cuomo, New York State Governor


Carl E. Heastie, NYS Assembly Speaker
Eric T. Schneiderman, NYS Attorney General
Matthew 1. Driscoll, Commissioner NYS DOT
Basil Seggos, Commissioner NYS DEC

9th AD