The Honorable Edward R. Hamberger
President and Chief Executive Officer
Association of American Railroads
425 Third Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024
Dear Mr. Hamberger:
Thank you for joining me and our team at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) last month to discuss safety issues associated with the transportation of crude oil by rail within the United States. DOT and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) both recognize that the United States has experienced a significant growth in the quantity of petroleum crude oil being shipped by rail in recent years. The rapid increase in the production and transportation of crude oil requires additional vigilance for the continued safe movement of this commodity by all stakeholders involved, including both the rail industry and the Federal Government. After all, nothing is more important for all involved than safety.
Over the last month, DOT and AAR have been engaged in productive discussions regarding additional measures that AAR and its member railroads can take to further enhance the safe transportation of crude oil by train. My leadership team informs me that AAR and many of its member railroads (Railroad Subscribers) are willing to make the commitments described below. The purpose of these commitments is to address safety concerns that have been raised regarding the rail transportation of crude oil by increasing track and mechanical inspection frequency beyond that required by current regulations; conducting routing analyses using 27 factors set forth in Federal regulations to assess the safest and most secure routes; establishing speed restrictions; and utilizing braking systems which reduce the kinetic energy (or pile up effect) of trains in the event of derailments.
DOT continues to evaluate all aspects of crude oil transportation. As we work to gather and evaluate data expeditiously, we will continue to be guided by our safety imperative and will engage all stakeholders as additional measures are proposed. Until such time, the commitments below, taken together, will start to further enhance safety immediately.
Proposed AAR and Railroad Subscribers Commitments
If AAR and any of its member railroads are willing to publicly agree to these commitments, I ask that you and such Railroad Subscribers sign the attached acknowledgement, the terms of which shall be incorporated in this letter. Please return a copy of the AAR’s executed acknowledgement to me at your earliest convenience. Also, please provide my office with an executed acknowledgement for each subscriber.
DOT appreciates AAR’s ongoing commitment to raising the safety bar. For our part, we continue to explore ways to enhance the safe transportation of crude oil and other flammable liquids by rail (e.g., more accurate classification of the hazards posed, speed restrictions, more stringent tank car standards) to ensure the safety of the American people.
Anthony R. Foxx
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND AGREEMENT
Effective on the date set forth below, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) hereby agrees to the “Commitments” as set forth in the attached Letter dated February 20, 2014 from Secretary Anthony R. Foxx to Edward R. Hamberger (Commitments) subject to the following terms.
The AAR’s Agreement to such Commitments shall remain in effect until: (1) the Commitments are terminated by the AAR upon 90 days written notice; or (2) a change in an applicable statute or Federal regulation occurs that supersedes or conflicts with any Commitment applicable to the AAR or any Railroad Subscriber as that term is used in the attached Letter, in which case this Agreement will terminate immediately as to the affected Commitment.
The modification of any Commitment shall only be effective upon written acknowledgment and agreement by the AAR.
Nothing in this Acknowledgement and Agreement precludes the AAR from exercising its legal rights, including those in connection with safety regulation matters.
On behalf of the Association of American Railroads
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND SUBSCRIPTION
The undersigned railroad hereby, as a Railroad Subscriber (Railroad Subscriber) to the attached Letter dated February 20, 2014 from Secretary Anthony R. Foxx to Edward R. Hamberger, agrees to the “Commitments” of Railroad Subscribers as set forth in the Letter (Commitments) subject to the following terms.
The undersigned’s agreement to the Commitments applicable to Railroad Subscribers shall remain in effect until: (1) the Commitments are terminated by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) upon 90 days written notice; or (2) a change in an applicable statute or Federal regulation occurs that supersedes or conflicts with any Commitment, in which case this Acknowledgement and Subscription will terminate immediately as to the affected Commitment.
If the Commitments are modified, such modifications will be applicable to the undersigned only upon written acknowledgement and agreement of the modification by the AAR and such Railroad Subscriber’s acknowledgement in writing.
Nothing in this Acknowledgement and Subscription precludes the undersigned Railroad Subscriber from exercising its legal rights, including those in connection with safety regulation matters.
This Acknowledgement and Subscription shall be effective upon the later of the date set forth below or the date of the AAR’s written acknowledgement and agreement to the Commitments.