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In response to several recent high profile incidents involving crude by rail, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a comprehensive rulemaking proposal on July 23, 2014, related to...more
On Wednesday, July 23, 2014 the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“Administration”), an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation (“USDOT”), issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) for...more
The U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) recenlty released a much-anticipated Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to improve the safe...more
July 6 marked the one year anniversary of the crude oil derailment in Lac Megantic Quebec, which significantly heightened throughout North America the awareness about safety issues surrounding crude by rail. This heightened...more
The desire to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in commercial operations is steadily building. A wide variety of businesses would like to use these devices to improve efficiency and safety, and reduce costs. One field that...more
As speculation over the federal government’s forthcoming rule on rail shipments of crude oil grows, two items hit the press last week increasing speculation over the details of the reforms. ...more
On May 29, 2014, the ZEV Program Implementation Task Force issued a 32-page action plan detailing the efforts that eight states will undertake to increase the number of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in use. ZEVs are battery...more
On July 11th, Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman sent a letter to the mayor and city council members for Denton, Texas asking that the council reject a proposal to ban hydraulic fracturing in Denton. Chairman...more
“When I was asked if I might speak about the use of LNG as fuel for ships, two thoughts came to mind.
Firstly, the old Latin maxim: volenti non fit injuria. Or in my vernacular: “well, you asked for...more
Effective January 1, 2015, the method of issuing tax assessments and the informal conference process available to taxpayers will be revamped. 2014 Tenn. Pub. Acts 854. Touted as being more taxpayer-friendly, the two most...more
On June 24, 2014, various news sources reported that the Department of Commerce (“DOC”) had allowed two companies to export processed condensate, suggesting a breakthrough in the 40-year ban on crude oil exports. The reality...more
On June 12 and 13, 2014, Railway Age’s Crude by Rail Conference and Expo brought together representatives from the oil and gas industry, railroads, rail car manufacturers, Federal government, emergency response organizations...more
Environmental and Policy Focus: Long-term money a big boost for California's high-speed rail - Contra Costa Times - Jun 17:
Gov. Jerry Brown scored a win for California's $68 billion high-speed rail project by...more
Environmental and Policy Focus - Kings County lawsuit challenges Fresno-Bakersfield high-speed rail: Fresno Bee - Jun 5:
The Kings County Board of Supervisors, the Farm Bureau, and a group of county residents filed...more
On June 4, 2014, the first budget (Budget) of the new Liberal government, in power since April 7, 2014, was tabled in the Québec National Assembly. The Budget provides for certain measures to relaunch the Plan Nord, as...more
The 2014 Legislature came into session in early March and adjourned in early May. Florida lawmakers passed more than 260 bills, 26 of them applied only to local areas. One proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution was...more
The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies (“TRB”) has released its second volume of guidance addressing risks in project delivery, including risks associated with the National Environmental Policy Act...more
- On June 10, 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the first commercial drone operation over land in the United States.
- Current FAA regulations prohibit any use of drones for commercial or business...more
Two measures have been introduced in the California legislature to respond to the growth of crude-by-rail volume in the state.
State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) has introduced SB 1319, which would expand...more
By a vote of 29-1, on June 5, 2014, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed legislation (S. 2438) funding fiscal year (FY) 2015 activities for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT’s programs for crude oil and...more
If comments made earlier this week by House Appropriations Chair, Rep. Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) hold true, the General Appropriations bill, the chief vehicle for the budget, could be introduced in the House sometime next...more
Federal regulatory activity is at an all-time high, with more than 3,700 regulations in just the past year. This has caused the Code of Federal Regulations to grow to 238 volumes with nearly 175,000 pages – 4,000 of which...more
On May 23, 2014, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration clarified its May 7, 2014, Emergency Order Regarding Notification to Communities of Bakken Crude Oil Shipments through the release of...more
The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently issued an Emergency Order (EO) requiring all rail carriers to notify State Emergency Response Commissions regarding the expected routing of their unit trains of Bakken crude...more
As rail shipments of crude oil moving out of North Dakota’s Bakken formation have risen in recent years, so have derailments of trains carrying crude oil throughout the United States and Canada. One facet of the debate over...more
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