Resolution To Decommission Obsolete Dot-111 Railroad Tanker Cars And Regulate Tanker Car Parking And Transit

Resolution 13-11.29L 

 

WHEREAS, Californians are concerned that oil refineries transport volatile and explosive products in old railroad tanker cars which travel within 200 ft. of people's homes, and in the last 5 years, there has been a 40-fold increase in carloads of crude oil bound for U.S. refineries - on old tracks not meant for such loads; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Transportation recognizes that the most common railway tanker car, the DOT-111, is prone to rupture and explosion during derailments, as in the following 2013 accidents:  a train carrying Bakken shale oil derailed and burned in Casselton, North Dakota; a train carrying North Dakota (Bakken) crude oil derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Canada - destroying much of the town and killing 47 people; 13 DOT-111 tanker cars carrying liquefied petroleum gas and crude oil derailed and exploded in Alberta, Canada; and

WHEREAS, tanker cars regularly travel through communities carrying explosive products and have been parked unattended for long periods on tracks near residences; and, after a series of explosive train fires with shale oil from Bakken, North Dakota, the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a safety alert to "indicate that the type of crude oil being transported from the Bakken region may be more flammable than traditional heavy crude oil";

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party respectfully requests that city councils, mayors, county supervisors, state legislators, and members of Congress urge the federal agencies responsible for railroad safety, namely the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration, to protect communities and the environment by requiring that railroads, refiners, and tanker owners promptly institute the most rigorous safety protocols such as: regulating train speed with electronic back-up speed controls, mandating two-person train staffing, mandating hazardous cargo warnings for Bakken crude and liquefied petroleum gas, informing relevant public agencies of hazardous train cargo, instituting a comprehensive spill response plan, and prohibiting frequent or long-term parking of unattended tanker cars on railroads within 200 feet of buildings and occupied spaces.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party respectfully requests that state legislators, and members of Congress urge the Department of Transportation to remove obsolete DOT-111 rail tanker cars from service immediately on trains having more than 50 cars or more for hazardous materials; and require that replacements be built expeditiously and to the highest standards.

 

 

Sponsored by Charles Davidson

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Adopted by the California Democratic Party
At its July 2014 Executive Board Meeting
Marriot Hotel, Oakland
July 13, 2014

 

 

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