An emergency order requiring rail companies to inform emergency management officials about shipments of crude oil through their states has been issued. Safety and proper emergency response is the purpose for it.
Rail companies have already begun phasing out older tank cars in response to safety concerns with transporting crude oil. Now the department of transportation has issued an emergency rail safety order for the companies transporting a million gallons or more.
Aroostook Emergency Management Agency Director Darren Woods says, “The order is very specific to Bakken crude oil, it comes from a specific part of the country. They believe that to be a little bit more flammable than other types of crude oil.”
This rail safety order really comes after recent train derailments and accidents containing crude oil. And what the order does really, is require the rail companies now, to notify emergency service agencies what their rail cars contain as they pass through.
Woods says in Aroostook county there currently is no crude oil that transports on the rails. But he says there are rail roads in southern maine and about 10 miles across the border in canada, that do have tank cars transporting the oil, which keeps his agency alert.
Woods, “It’s our job to plan for emergencies, for all emergencies. And in order for us to understand what we need to plan, prepare, and train our responders to react to, we need to know what’s out there.”
The emergency rail safety order was issued May 7th, and technically goes into effect 30 days from that date. So now, when a rail company does report it’s transportation of crude oil, the information works it’s way down to local responders.
Woods, “All that information would go into the state emergency response commission. It gets relayed down to the local emergency planning committees which are counties, and the county emergency managements work with them.”
As emergency officials are notified, woods says they then look at where the oil shipment is going through, ensure the responders have the proper equipment, and safety measures are in place.
Follow the link below for full details on the emergency safety order from the transportation department.