Factbox: Reaction to U.S. proposals on oil, ethanol transport by rail

WASHINGTON Wed Jul 23, 2014 2:02pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday proposed an overhaul of safety standards for carrying crude oil and ethanol by rail after a series of accidents in the past year.[ID:nL2N0PY11N]

The following is reaction to the proposed rules:

American Petroleum Institute, whose more than 600 members produce, process and distribute oil and natural gas:

“The government can and should take steps to ensure greater safety without stalling the energy renaissance that is creating good jobs, growing our economy and improving America’s energy security. As the regulatory process moves forward, we will continue to work collaboratively with the rail industry, regulators and local first responders toward our goal of zero incidents,” API President and Chief Executive Jack Gerard said in a statement.

U.S. Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, who has pressed regulators to make tank cars safer:

“We appreciate that DOT has issued its proposal for rail tank cars today that appears to be comprehensive and deals with prevention, mitigation and response. We will continue to review these proposed standards to ensure they are workable and will keep our communities safe,” Hoeven said in a statement.

Brigham McCown, transportation safety and energy infrastructure policy expert, former official at U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration:

"The tough part for regulators here is slicing it down the middle on these rules. Nobody will be perfectly happy with the final rules, but I expect the DOT to stick to its guns on them. The safety of crude-by-rail shipments has become a major issue," McCown said.

"A two-year phase-out period for older DOT 111 railcars, in my opinion, is just not realistic. It will likely take longer to get those cars out of service, and that proposal seems politically motivated."

Matt Krogh, ForestEthics campaigner:

"Today the Obama administration announced weak new standards for high-hazard flammable trains that give the oil industry a license to threaten the safety of millions of Americans and leave communities and emergency responders holding the bag," Krogh said in a statement.

“The administration seems to have carefully calculated and managed the inconvenience of these rules to the oil industry, but they’ve severely underestimated the threat of these trains to the American public."

(Additional reporting by Ros Krasny and Joshua Schneyer; Compiled by Jim Loney; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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