RFA Responds to National Academy of Sciences Report on Rail Shipping

Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, released the following statement in reponse to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on the shipment of hazardous cargoes such as crude oil, natural gas, and ethanol. 

"Safety remains a top priority for the U.S. ethanol industry and the National Academy of Sciences report on shipping ethanol and other energy commodities by rail underscores the importance of the Renewable Fuels Association’s safety programs and the need to continue the effort. 

Of course, the overwhelming majority of ethanol shipped by rail reaches its destinations safely and as the report highlighted, the transition to newer DOT-117 tank cars with upgraded design specifications will help ensure ethanol and other flammable commodities move safely to their destination. 

The ethanol industry has indeed begun the transition to the newer cars and will meet the statutory deadline for compliance.

“However, the most important factor in shipping hazardous materials is track integrity. We must all work harder to keep the trains on the tracks. 

Indeed, the report recommends federal emergency preparedness grants should be used to meet the planning, training, and resource needs of communities. 

The RFA is the industry leader in offering safety seminars. We have helped local communities in 38 states train on ethanol emergency response tactics and procedures. 

Just this year, we have held 35 ethanol safety seminars in 19 locations, training a total of 1,572 emergency personnel.

“The RFA takes safety very seriously and we welcome the recommendations in this new report. We will continue to work with our customers to ensure that ethanol is delivered safely to towns across our country.”