Feds Act Unilaterally On Crude Oil Train Regs While Dems Stall Pipeline Legislation

As Democrat foot dragging stalls Congressional action on any Keystone pipeline legislation, the Obama administration suffers no such impediment in acting unilaterally to impose new regulations on the rail transport of crude oil.

“The Transportation Department issued an emergency order Wednesday requiring that railroads inform state emergency management officials about the movement of large shipments of crude oil through their states and urged shippers not to use older model tanks cars that are easily ruptured in accidents, even at slow speeds.”

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The emergency order requires that each railroad operating trains containing more than 1 million gallons of crude oil — the equivalent of about 35 tank cars — from the booming Bakken region of North Dakota, Montana and parts of Canada provide information on the trains’ expected movement, including frequency and county-by-county routes, to the states they traverse. The order also requires that railroads disclose the volume of oil being transported and how emergency responders can contact “at least one responsible party” at the railroad.

Meanwhile, a “bid by supporters of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline to force a vote on the controversial project fell apart Wednesday amid partisan bickering over how the vote should be conducted.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., used a parliamentary maneuver to block a bid by pipeline supporters to include the pipeline measure in an energy efficiency bill moving forward in the Senate.”

The GOP is also seeking to prevent the EPA from placing new greenhouse gas regulations on coal-burning power plants. One has to wonder how long it will be before the Obama administration finds some rationale for acting on its own in that regard, too.

Reid’s actions came after Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell objected to Reid’s offer to call an up-or-down vote on the energy bill, with a promise for a separate vote on Keystone later.