Hoeven: Appropriations Committee Approves $246 Million in THUD Funding to Improve Crude Oil Transport Safety in FY16 Bill

Legislation Provides Support for Making Crude Oil Shipments by Rail and Pipeline Safer, Enhances First Responder Training

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced that the committee has approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Bill. Hoeven worked to ensure the legislation provides critical funding that will help improve the safety of transporting crude oil by rail.

The bill includes $246 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), a $120 million increase over FY15 to address safety concerns related to recent accidents involving transport of crude oil by pipeline and rail. The bill also includes language that will help develop a web-based curriculum for local emergency responders to help them better address accidents when they do occur.

“As we work towards energy security in our country, it’s important that we invest in infrastructure, training programs and technology that will ensure crude oil is moved safely and efficiently. This is especially important in North Dakota, where we produce more than one million barrels of crude oil per day. This legislation provides critical funding that will enhance oil pipeline and rail shipment safety, which will help prevent accidents in the first place and mitigate their impacts if they do occur. In addition to working to improve rail safety, I will continue my efforts in encouraging investment in other vital forms of energy infrastructure, like the Keystone XL pipeline.”

Hoeven has long advocated for railcar safety. In response to the Heimdal derailment in May, the senator contacted local, state and top federal officials to ensure they were doing all they could to investigate the incident and work towards determining steps that could be taken to improve rail safety.

The senator pressed PHMSA in 2012 to finalize new railcar construction standard. Following the Casselton derailment in December 2013, Hoeven organized a series of meetings for the delegation with U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and then-PHMSA head Cynthia Quarterman to push for an effective, comprehensive plan to improve the safety of transporting crude oil by rail.