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Thu May 21, 2020, 07:25 AM

Federal Hazmat Regulator - States Can't "Use Safety As A Pretext For Inhibiting Market Growth"

The federal agency overseeing the safe transport of hazardous materials released a stunning explanation of its May 11 decision striking down a Washington state effort to regulate trains carrying volatile oil within its borders. A state cannot use “safety as a pretext for inhibiting market growth,” wrote Paul J. Roberti, the chief counsel for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

Ed. - Emphasis added.

The statement appeared in the Trump administration's justification for overruling Washington’s oil train regulation, which was challenged by crude-producing North Dakota and oil industry lobbying groups. The Washington rule seeks to limit oil vapor pressure unloaded from trains to less than 9 pounds per square inch (psi) in an attempt to reduce the likelihood that train derailments lead to the now-familiar fireballs and explosions accompanying trains transporting volatile oil. Roberti wrote: “Proponents of the law insist Washington State has a legitimate public interest to protect its citizens from oil train fires and explosions, but in the context of the transportation of crude oil by rail, a State cannot use safety as a pretext for inhibiting market growth or instituting a de facto ban on crude oil by rail within its borders.” With this statement, PHMSA is codifying what has been clear for some time at the regulatory agencies responsible for overseeing the transportation of hazardous materials by rail: that is, profits take priority over safety.

A year ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), PHMSA's parent agency, invoked the same legal argument, known as “pre-emption,” to overrule state efforts to require at minimum two-person crews for operating freight trains. As part of the explanation for that decision, the DOT's Federal Railroad Administration announced that it was adopting a policy of deregulation. “DOT’s approach to achieving safety improvements begins with a focus on removing unnecessary barriers and issuing voluntary guidance, rather than regulations that could stifle innovation,” wrote the agency.

A regulatory agency announcing a broad deregulatory agenda was shocking. However, this latest move openly declares that, while Washington state may have an interest in protecting its citizens from “oil train fires and explosions,” that concern should not get in the way of the oil industry's ability to ship more of its product by rail through the state, apparently even if that increases the risk of oil train fires and explosions to Washington residents. This logic reaches a new level of prioritizing profits over people as regulatory practice.

EDIT

https://www.desmogblog.com/2020/05/20/trump-phmsa-safety-washington-vapor-pressure-oil-trains

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Reply Federal Hazmat Regulator - States Can't "Use Safety As A Pretext For Inhibiting Market Growth" (Original post)
hatrack Thursday OP
samnsara Thursday #1
Squinch Thursday #2
safeinOhio Thursday #3

Response to hatrack (Original post)

Thu May 21, 2020, 07:28 AM

1. 5 more months...i can (hardly) wait 5 more months..Prez Joe is going to have his hands full!

...cleaning up trumps messes..

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Thu May 21, 2020, 08:07 AM

2. I remember the good old days when people believed market growth could not be

used as an excuse to inhibit safety.

And Democrats are missing an opportunity to show Americans where Republicans are using them as cannon fodder to the gods of economics all over the country.

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Thu May 21, 2020, 09:30 AM

3. So,let me guess.

They get all the profit and we get to pay for all the clean up.

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