Members of North Dakota, Montana & Ohio Delegations Lead Bicameral Effort Urging Federal Agency to Preempt Washington Crude-By-Rail Ban

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-N.D.), along with Senators Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Congressmen Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) and Bob Latta (R-Ohio), this week led a bicameral letter urging the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to preempt the recently-passed Washington State crude-by-rail law, which requires crude oil unloaded in the state to meet a 9 psi Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP), starting in 2020, and will effectively block the Pacific Northwest as a destination for Bakken crude oil.

The letter supports the petition filed by the States of North Dakota and Montana, stressing that the Washington State law violates the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) primary authority over the shipment of crude oil within the United States and the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“The renaissance in energy production that began a decade ago has led the United States on the path to becoming the world’s largest exporter of oil, natural gas liquids and petroleum products,” the group of Senators and Congressmen wrote. “The Washington State law threatens to reverse the gains that have made our country energy independent by discriminating against Bakken crude oil and domestic energy production in favor of foreign imported crude oil… [As the law] interferes with the safe transportation of crude oil amongst the states, we strongly believe that it violates the commerce clause and therefore should be preempted by PHMSA.”

The full text of the group’s letter can be found here. In addition to the North Dakota, Montana and Ohio members of Congress, the letter was signed by Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), James Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Kennedy (R-La.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Congressmen Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.), Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Pete Stauber (R-Minn.), Michael Cloud (R-Texas), Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Bill Flores (R-Texas), Randy Weber (R-Texas), Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and Tom Emmer (R-Minn.).

The North Dakota delegation previously made this case to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and wrote to Washington Governor Jay Inslee, where they outlined the law’s unscientific basis and lack of a solid legal foundation.