On June 9, 2015, during a joint hearing in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee and Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee engaged with various representatives of the energy and rail industries, Governor’s office, Public Utility Commission, American Petroleum Institute, and emergency responders to discuss and debate the best ways to address “[s]afe transportation of crude oil (and other energy products) by rail in Pennsylvania.”
In a report published in 2014, the U.S. EIA observed that, due to increasing crude oil production in the Bakken shale oil field of North Dakota, the number of unit trains shipments from North Dakota to Eastern refineries, such as Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ plant in South Philadelphia, massively increased.
As Mr. Philip Rinaldi, Chief Executive Officer of Philadelphia Energy Solutions, testified, “we are the single largest consumer of Bakken crude consuming upwards of 20% of the total production of North Dakota” which brings challenges in terms of potential significant public and environmental impacts in case of rail incidents.
The general outcome of the hearing pointed out the importance of a comprehensive approach to prevent train derailments by conforming to new federal safety rules and providing first emergency responders the proper means of intervention through training programs.
Further information is available at http://www.senatorgeneyaw.com/2015/06/08/safe-transportation-of-crude-oil-and-other-energy-products-by-rail-in-pennsylvania/.
Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow