In the past month, there have been numerous public relations efforts suggesting that much is being done to improve oil by rail safety. Unfortunately, it seems these efforts will not involve much more than press releases and hollow promises, as regulators have made no meaningful changes to a broken and ineffective regulatory system.
That approach, combined with the realities of the rail tank car industry, basically ensure that oil will be transported in the unsafe DOT-111 tank cars for many years to come, despite testimony at a recent congressional hearing from Robert Sumwalt of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Sumwalt testified that, “multiple recent serious and fatal accidents reflect substantial shortcomings in tank car design that create an unacceptable public risk.”
Unacceptable to the public, but apparently perfectly acceptable to the industry.