The DOT has issued an Emergency Order requiring that railroads operating trains carrying more than 1,000,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil (approximately 35 tank cars) in a particular state must notify the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) of the expected movement of such trains through the counties in that state.  The notification must: (1) provide an estimate of the number and frequency of trains affected by the Order; (2) identify the oil being transported; (3) provide applicable emergency response information required under 49 C.F.R. Part 172; (4) identify the routes over which the material will be transported; and (5) provide an operator point of contact.  If notification is not made to a SERC within 30 days of the date of the Order, the railroad is prohibited from transporting such volumes of Bakken crude until notification is provided. 

In conjunction with the DOT Emergency Order, the FRA and PHMSA have issued a joint Safety Advisory, strongly urging those shipping or offering Bakken crude oil to use tank cars designed with the highest level of integrity available in their fleets.  PHMSA and FRA advised offerors and carriers to the extent possible to avoid the use of older legacy DOT Specification 111 or CTC 111 tank cars for the shipment of Bakken crude oil.

The Order and Safety Advisory are the latest in a series of actions by DOT in response to its determination that a pattern of recent releases and fires involving crude oil rail shipments constitutes an imminent hazard to the safe transportation of hazardous materials.  See prior pipelinelaw alerts.