A rule establishing volatility standards for crude oil shipped by rail has to potential to become legislation after a New York senator said he wants federal regulators to finalize a plan.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, said federal data show shipments of Bakken crude crossing New York state headed to Northeast refineries is again on the rise.
The crude oil comes from the Bakken shale formation in North Dakota.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports Northeast refineries used 3.1 million barrels in March, the highest level since early 2017.
Oil trains carrying Bakken crude pass through communities from western New York through the Mohawk Valley to Albany, then south along the Mohawk River.
Schumer said the shipments put communities at risk of a devastating explosion and fire if tank cars derail or puncture. Schumer wants federal standards to stabilize crude before shipment so it’s less explosive.
Shipping oil by rail has come under scrutiny over the past five years as there has been a series of accidents. A string of accidents have followed the high volume of rail shipments. A rail car containing fuel exploded inside a building back in 2014, leaving nine people injured at the Greenbrier Companies Rail Car Service Facility near Atchison, KS, officials said. In 2013, a train derailed the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic and killed 47.