Summary: We need to move up the DOT-117 standard for ethanol rail transportation and get the safety benefits as soon as possible, not in 2025.
Released: Filed Under: Stoa Policy
About "Ethanol Rail Safety"
Trains carrying fuels like oil and ethanol across the heartland of our nation are a serious and well-known hazard. The town of Lac Megantic, Quebec, was devastated by an oil tanker derailment and explosion several years ago, and Congress took action to try to prevent it from happening here. Unfortunately, while taking immediate action on oil tanker safety, Congress left a loophole that postpones standards for safer tanker cars carrying ethanol until 2025.
It was a bad decision because there are even more ethanol derailments and spills in the US than accidents involving oil, and ethanol is just as, if not more, dangerous. The standard for safer tanker cars for oil is a standard called DOT-117, which defines the safety features and safeguards built into a tanker car design. Currently, most ethanol is carried in DOT-111 cars, which burst and explode when they derail and are considered much more dangerous. There are lots of DOT-117 cars sitting idle in railyards today, but companies won’t use them because they’re waiting for the deadline. Meanwhile, every community the old tankers pass through is at risk of fiery destruction.
We need to move up the DOT-117 standard for ethanol rail transportation and get the safety benefits as soon as possible, not in 2025.
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