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Department of Transportation Investigating Shippers of Crude Oil by Truck For Sampling and Testing Programs

In the last few months, the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) has initiated an enforcement investigation into whether commodity traders who contract to ship crude oil by truck maintain a written sampling and testing program for these activities.  The requirement to maintain a sampling and testing program was implemented in a DOT final rule issued in May 2015, which also set out...

DOT Proposes New Rule To Assess Motor Carriers’ Safety Compliance

Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a rulemaking proposal to improve the agency’s ability to identify non-compliant motor carriers by integrating on-road safety data from inspections, in addition to the results of carrier investigations and crash reports, into the agency’s safety fitness...

New Railroad Track Inspection Standards Forthcoming After West Virginia Derailment Findings Released

The Federal Railroad Administration announced yesterday new upcoming rail-track standards in connection with reporting its detailed findings of the crude train derailment earlier this year in West Virginia.  The agency announced it will release a Safety Advisory, which urges closer and more detailed inspections where defects and flaws are suspected, and stronger training for rail...

Railroad Parent Companies Dismissed In Vinyl Chloride Derailment Case

In litigation arising from a train derailment and resulting release of more than 20,000 gallons of the chemical vinyl chloride, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey granted summary judgment to two railroad parent companies.  The court concluded that the plaintiffs could not keep the two railroads, which held a voting interest in the switching and terminal company that...

Supreme Court Asked To Clear Up Maritime Contracting Circuit Split

An ocean carrier and its on-land rail subcontractor have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve the uncertainty in maritime contracting created by an apparent conflict between the Seventh Circuit and a recent Second Circuit decision that arise from the interpretation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s case of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. v. Regal-Beloit, 561 U.S. 89 (2010), a case that...

NTSB Issues Safety Recommendations To PHMSA On Crude By Rail Issues

On Friday, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a 10-page Safety Recommendation to the Acting Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.  The NTSB derived the recommendations from its investigations of the recent derailments of crude-carrying trains in West Virginia, Illinois, and Ontario.  The letter, which can be accessed here, requests...

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