Final ethanol railcar standards releasedFinal ethanol railcar standards released
May 8, 2015
THE U.S. Department of Transportation released a final rule May 1 that requires a phase-out or retrofit of all DOT-111 railcars transporting crude oil and ethanol over the next eight years.
Specifically, the rule requires all unjacketed CPC-1232 railcars used to ship ethanol to be phased out or retrofitted by July 2023.
Additionally, a new tank car standard has been put in place that establishes the DOT-117 as the new railcar for shipping oil and ethanol.
The ethanol industry welcomed the rule for recognizing the difference between ethanol and oil, for prioritizing oil train retrofits and for offering a phased-in approach so ethanol trains can make the needed changes.
Nearly 70% of ethanol is transported by rail.
Bob Dinneen, president and chief executive officer of the Renewable Fuels Assn., said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx "appears to have struck a fair balance in setting comprehensive standards while at the same time being sensitive to the limitation of retrofit capacity by giving less hazardous flammables — like ethanol — additional time to retrofit railcars."
Dinneen also applauded DOT for working to harmonize the regulations with Canada and for prioritizing dangerous and highly volatile flammables like crude oil while giving medium-hazard liquids like ethanol further time to comply.
"The additional requirements we face will be costly, but the additional time to comply is certainly welcome," Dinneen said.
Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis expressed disappointment that "regulators are requiring extensive changes to the ethanol fleet while seemingly ignoring the number-one cause of these accidents: broken rails and poor track condition."
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