(Adds comments from senators, governor, analyst)
WASHINGTON, July 23 (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.
The following statements are in reaction to the proposed rules:
AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE JACK GERARD:
"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."
ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE EDWARD HAMBERGER:
"This long-anticipated rulemaking from DOT provides a much-needed pathway for enhancing the safe movement of flammable liquids in the U.S."
REPUBLICAN 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." 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."
"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."
"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."
DEMOCRATIC SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER OF NEW YORK:
"These desperately needed safety regulations will phase out the aged and explosion-prone DOT-111 tanker cars that are hauling endless streams of highly flammable crude oil through communities across the country and in New York."
"These safety rules should be finalized, implemented, and enforced as soon as possible."
NORTH DAKOTA GOVERNOR JACK DALRYMPLE, A REPUBLICAN:
"The proposed rules released today by the U.S. Department of Transportation address several areas of rail safety that we consider in need of improvements, including the need for safer tank cars, reduced train speeds in populated areas and other operational practices."
"Still, we need to further review the specifics of the proposed rules to determine if they are workable and offer the best opportunities for improved rail safety." JASON SEIDL, ANALYST AT COWEN & CO:
"The issue you're going to have is, if you implemented these rules tomorrow, you'd have slower train speeds, which means the system would get clogged up, which means then you'd have more hazardous material on the railroads sharing some of lines near some of the passenger trains."
"So it's probably not a good idea to try to limit the speeds on something when the speeds haven't proven to be any issues." U.S. SENATOR HEIDI HEITKAMP, A NORTH DAKOTA DEMOCRAT:
"Today's new rules are an important and needed step toward making sure families and communities across the country are safe." U.S. SENATOR JAY ROCKEFELLER, A WEST VIRGINIA DEMOCRAT AND CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION:
"I am pleased the Administration is moving forward with a comprehensive rulemaking to improve the safety of crude oil and other hazardous materials by rail." (Additional reporting by Ros Krasny and Joshua Schneyer; Compiled by Jim Loney; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Alden Bentley)