Rep. Mike Thompson bill to study crude-by-rail security from terrorist threats

Repost from The Vallejo Times-Herald
[Editor: … as if risks of derailment and explosion weren’t enough to worry about…  – RS]

Legislation to enhance crude-by-rail safety passes House

Times-Herald staff report  |  06/05/2014

Following an increase in crude oil by rail to the Bay Area, Rep. Mike Thompson has authored legislation aimed at making it safer to transport the highly flammable cargo.

The legislation, which would require an assessment of domestic refinery and rail-related infrastructure, passed the House of Representatives last week by a bipartisan vote of 345 to 59.

It’s currently in the Senate.

“Public safety is the number one priority when we’re transporting and holding crude oil and other cargo through and in our communities,” Thompson said Thursday. “This legislation will let us know if threats exist and how we can fix them.”

Thompson’s district includes three refineries, including the Valero Benicia Refinery, which is seeking approval of a major crude-by-rail terminal. The project’s environmental impact report is due out next week.

Bakken crude from North Dakota, regarded as more flammable than other crudes, is part of the mix of increased crude-by-rail shipments to California. The legislation would require the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis to conduct an intelligence assessment of the safety of refinery and crude-by-rail infrastructure. After the assessment is conducted, safety recommendations would be submitted to the House and Senate intelligence committees.