US and Canada Announce New Joint Regulations for Rail Tank Car Safety Standards
In a joint Canada/US press conference, Canada’s Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and US Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox announced harmonized cross-border regulations aimed at strengthening safety standards for rail tank cars used to transport crude oil and other dangerous goods. The announcement comes after ongoing discussions between regulators and industry stakeholders in both countries and is in response to increasing public concern over the safety of transporting crude by rail.
The New Regulations
The proposed new Canadian regulations introduce the following three changes to the existing framework:
New requirements for manufacturers to build rail tank cars with upgraded safety features, specifically to reduce the risks of puncture, derailment and leaks
New performance-based standards to retrofit older tanks
A schedule to phase out the use of some older tank cars
The US regulations mirror the Canadian regulations and include additional braking requirements for trains carrying large quantities of crude oil. After 2023, trains carrying large quantities of crude and other flammable goods will only be allowed to exceed 30 mph if they have electronically controlled pneumatic brakes installed. Raitt will look to find a Canadian solution to harmonize breaking requirements with the US but stopped short of making any statement about what the Canadian requirements would include.