U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced new rules to improve the safety of oil trains, including mandates for phasing out old tank cars, tightening speed limits, improving brake systems, and addressing concerns that oil from North Dakota's Bakken region is unusually flammable.
"People are rightfully demanding quick action to improve safety, communication and emergency preparedness. Just a few days ago we had another derailment and fuel spill in Wisconsin, in addition to all the incidents happening around the nation.
"These proposed changes are a good first step, but more work needs to be done to improve rail safety and protect our communities. Slower train speeds and higher tank car standards are a start, but moving forward we need to enhance track inspections, upgrade our train tracks, and process Bakken oil to make it less combustible.
"I am continuing to push for community-wide transparency regarding the contents of these trains, so everyone knows exactly what is passing through their neighborhoods. Additionally, I am reaching out to the rail industry to address the issue of rail capacity. As the amount of oil on trains continues to rise, farmers have become increasingly concerned about their ability to transport their commodities and rural electric co-ops wonder about their ability to transport coal."