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June 4, 2015

PHMSA Emergency Order Extended Indefinitely

On May 28, 2015, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) issued a notice to clarify that the USDOT’s May 2014 Emergency Order for notification of certain crude shipments to State Emergency Response Commission (“SERCs”) would remain in full force.  The notice comes after stakeholders and SERCs voiced concerns and confusion as to whether the Emergency Rule had been superseded by the recently issued Final Rule that set new standards for High-Hazard Flammable Trains.

The 2014 Emergency Order (Docket No. DOT-OST-2014-0067) requires all railroad carriers that transport 1 million gallons or more of Bakken crude oil in a single train to notify the SERC regarding the expected movement of the train through each county.

Several environmental groups raised the issue regarding the emergency order in recent lawsuits.   In the meantime, PHMSA is considering options for formally codifying the Emergency Order to make the requirement permanent.

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