Congressman Gottheimer Pushes Agency to Address Concern with Safety of Ethanol Distribution

Nov 03, 2017

“A Ticking Corn Bomb” Traveling on Rails through our Communities

Today, Congressman Josh Gottheimer responded to community concerns raised in The Record about the procedures, equipment, and information sharing currently authorized by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and used by the railroad industry when transporting ethanol across the United States. New Jersey is the third leading destination for ethanol in the country, behind only much larger California and Texas.

Writing a letter to PHMSA Administrator Howard Elliot, Rep. Gottheimer noted how lax safety standards of ethanol transportation can potentially threaten the lives and well-being of communities, especially in a state as densely populated as New Jersey.

Furthermore, Rep. Gottheimer sought to clarify exactly why ethanol-carrying trains are not subjected to the same protocols as equally dangerous crude-oil carrying trains. He also pressed for details about the exact training provided to first responders to handle ethanol transportation and associated accidents.

“New Jersey is a densely populated state, with a large number of communities along its railway lines,” said Rep. Gottheimer. “We can’t risk a derailment in New Jersey that either sends shrapnel spewing or a massive thermal explosion into our neighborhoods. I fear that these lax standards are creating ticking “corn bombs” that undoubtedly could threaten the lives and welfare of New Jersey families. And similar to oil tankers, we need to make sure our first responders are properly trained and equipped so their lives aren’t further at risk.”

To view the letter in its entirety, click here.

More About Ethanol Production:

Between 2000 and 2014, Ethanol production has increased 780 percent. Railroads currently account for 60 to 70 percent of ethanol transportation in the United States. From 2005 to 2015, there has been more than one million gallons more of ethanol spilled from trains than oil.

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