This article is taken from NGFA's May 12 newsletter.

The Senate Commerce Committee on May 10 advanced the Railway Safety Act (S. 576) sponsored by Chair Maria Cantwell, D-WA, and Sen. J.D. Vance, R-OH.

The bill passed on a largely party-line vote with all Democratic senators voting in favor and all Republicans voting against except Sens. Vance and Eric Schmitt, R-MO.

The bill now awaits consideration by the full Senate. NGFA will continue to monitor any efforts to consider rail safety legislation in both the Senate and House.

The Senate Commerce Committee worked with the NGFA to address some concerns about regulations included in the legislation.

The version passed through the committee clarifies that rail carriers – not shippers – would be required to provide advance notification of hazardous material shipments to state emergency response coordinators.

It also extends the deadline for the use of DOT–111 specification railroad tank cars to Dec. 31, 2028.

In a letter sent April 28 to committee leaders, NGFA and 47 other Agricultural Transportation Working Group members said any legislation should reduce the risk of future derailments while also ensuring a “reliable, economically sustainable” railroad freight transportation system.