Just days after issuing a stringent, yet confusing Emergency Order on the transportation of petroleum crude oil by rail, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a superseding Amended Emergency Order, dated March 6, 2014, which backtracks and reduces the stringency of its original February 25, 2014 Emergency Order. In its Amended Order, DOT clarified that it is not necessary for shippers to conduct testing on each discrete shipment of petroleum crude oil, provided there is existing information that “the offeror knows to a reasonable degree of certainty is representative and continues to be representative of the petroleum crude oil to be offered for shipment by rail” and that the offeror “continue[s] to test with sufficient frequency to ensure data regarding the characteristics of the petroleum crude oil subsequently offered for shipment remain accurate and current.” The shipping requirements remain unchanged from the original Emergency Order. See GT Alert, dated March 4, 2014.

The Department’s Amended Order strikes a more reasonable regulatory balance that is both protective of public safety and more efficient for crude oil transport operations.

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