Fuel association exec tells feds to improve rail system

Improving the nation’s railroad track system is the key to ensuring shipments of crude oil arrive safely at their destinations, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers President Charles Drevea said in a letter sent last month to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Drevea said the Department of Transportation (DOT) should help identify what the rail industry needs to do to cut derailments through better track conditions, maintenance and operating improvements. He said comments made earlier in the month by Sarah Feinberg, acting head of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), showed the government is off base. Feinberg said mitigation, not prevention, was the answer to crude-by-rail derailments.

Drevea said Feinberg’s comments fail to pinpoint the primary cause of rail accidents – poor track conditions.

"We cannot believe that you and the rest of the DOT staff believe…that a more robust track integrity program would not have an impact on reducing derailments of any kind,” Drevea said.

In light of Feinberg's remarks, Drevea asked Foxx to clarify the department’s position by posing a series of questions: “Does DOT believe that the current frequency of derailments is acceptable and that there is nothing further that FRA and the railroads can do to address track integrity, which is the leading cause of crude-by-rail as well as other incidents? Do you disagree that additional track inspections and more robust track maintenance requirements would significantly enhance safety?”


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