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Regulatory complexity governs rail, truck oil field transportation

Regulatory complexity governs rail, truck oil field transportation

01/06/2014 Coupling the complex US regulatory patchwork covering truck and rail transportation with the recent boom of nonpipeline transport of oil products, oil companies must understand and comply with far-reaching and potentially intermingled regulations. More than ever before, given both the increased use of truck and rail to transport these products and increasing federal and state regulations concerning truck and rail traffic, oil companies, railroads, and trucking companies must vigilantly remain abreast of all regulatory developments. Although the oil and gas waste exemption from the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) denies the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to regulate the transportation of hydraulic fracturing fluid, wastewater, and crude oil, federal entities have the authority to regulate the transportation of oil products. For instance, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration have regulatory authority over the transportation of hydraulic fracturing fluid, wastewater, and oil products by truck and rail, respectively. And though the 1995 Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCTA) preempts state regulation of railroad transportation, various states, including Arkansas, Colorado, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Texas, impose basic permitting, operating, and recordkeeping requirements on truckers transporting these products. With the volume of oil produced in the US rising faster than can be moved by existing pipelines and with remote areas such as North Dakota leading production growth, oil and gas companies increasingly are using railroads and semi-trucks both to transport crude oil and drilling waste by-products away from the well and bring chemicals, fluids, and other materials needed to drill and develop the resource towards it. Rail transport of oil products has increased...