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Regulator declines to set date for new rail tank car safety rules

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rail car safetyThe chief of a federal agency tasked with improving the safety of crude oil shipments by rail declined Wednesday to give lawmakers a date for new tank car rules that railroads and safety officials have sought for years.

Cynthia Quarterman, administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, also testified the tank car fixes weren’t “a silver bullet,” and were only “one piece of the mitigative puzzle” in making crude oil transportation safer.

The rail industry petitioned the agency three years ago for a rule on tank cars, but the process didn’t begin until this past September and could take at least another year to finish. Lawmakers expressed their frustration at the delay and the uncertainty it creates.

“Set a deadline,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.


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