March 09, 2023

Congressman Moulton Proposes New Rail Safety Regulations in Letter to Secretary Buttigieg, House and Senate Transportation Leaders

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) is urging Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Senate and House transportation leaders to take action on two vital, yet overlooked, proposals for rail safety regulation in the wake of the East Palestine derailment disaster. 

In a letter sent today, to Secretary Buttigieg, Senators Maria Cantwell and Ted Cruz, and Representatives Sam Graves and Rick Larsen, Moulton lays out additional recommendations for the regulatory response to prevent crises like this from happening again. The two core recommendations include: 

  • Maximum Train Length for Hazardous Materials: Capping the maximum length of trains carrying hazardous materials would improve safety while having the added benefit of moving the industry away from precision scheduled railroading (PSR). Not only would this make American communities safer, but it would likely improve the long-term growth of the industry. 
  • Detection Technology: While it is true that mandating hotbox detectors at more frequent intervals might have prevented this particular tragedy, hotbox detectors are a 1960s technology. Better options are available today within the broader category of wayside detection technology. 

Moulton is a Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and sits on the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

In the letter, Moulton writes:

“Citizens across the country demand action to prevent this from happening in their own communities, so it is critical that any regulatory response from Washington is effective and forward-looking. Every community in America, whether on a railroad or highway, should be free from the fear of what has happened to the people of East Palestine. Smart, forward-looking regulations can get us there.” 

The full letter can be found here