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S.F. No. 3352 - Oil and Hazardous Substances Railroad Transportation Requirements for Preparedness, Response, and Information (Delete-Everything Amendment)
Author: Senator Vicki Jensen
Prepared By:
Date: March 31, 2016


Section 1 relates to preparedness and response for railroads in case of oil and hazardous substance discharge.

Subdivision 2 expands the current requirement that railroads offer training and refresher training to fire departments along oil-transporting train routes to include training for local organizations for emergency management.  The requirement that initial training be offered by June 30, 2016, is stricken.

Subdivision 3 provides that railroads must coordinate with specified entities to assist emergency managers to assess local threats in areas with high population concentration or key facilities.

Subdivision 5 specifies that currently-required railroad drills are called environmental response drills and involve at least one tabletop exercise every year and at least one full-scale exercise every three years.

Subdivision 5a is new language that requires a railroad’s prevention and response plan to describe the capacity and methods to be utilized to meet statutory requirements concerning time limits for required actions following confirmation of a discharge.

Subdivision 6 deletes obsolete language and provides that a railroad’s prevention and response plan may need to be updated more frequently than every three years if there has been a significant discharge, significant change in operation or ownership, significant change in national or area contingency plans, or change in capabilities or role of a person named in a plan as having an important response role.

Subdivision 7 is a new subdivision requiring each railroad to file with the Commissioner of Transportation a financial responsibility plan demonstrating ability to pay for environmental costs, with the amount to be determined by MnDOT and PCA.  The subdivision lists acceptable evidence of the railroad company’s ability to pay, based on the volume of oil or hazardous substances carried and worst-case discharge costs.  The financial responsibility plan must be continuous, and the railroad must notify MnDOT in the event of material change.

Section 2 expands the state rail safety inspection program.

Subdivision 1 allows the Commissioner of Transportation to increase the number of state rail safety inspector positions from the current level of three or four, to a maximum of nine and adds to the inspectors’ powers the inspection of train equipment.

Subdivision 2 bases the existing assessment on rail carriers on route miles in Minnesota at the time of assessment.  The commissioner is directed to include in the assessment calculation of additional positions, along with inspection, administration, supervision, travel, equipment, and training.

Subdivision 5 is a new subdivision that requires the Commissioner of Transportation to maintain on its public Web site information on state rail safety inspection.  The subdivision specifies the minimum information that must be posted, including defects, violations, inspection reports, enforcement activity, corrective actions, revenue sources and expenditures from the state rail safety inspection account, and railroad bridge inspection reports submitted to the commissioner.  This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Section 3 establishes a new statutory section on incident emergency response, preparation, and information.

Subdivision 1 defines terms, including emergency manager, hazardous substance, oil, and rail carrier.

Subdivision 2 details required notice a rail carrier must provide to the Department of Public Safety as well as emergency managers and fire chiefs along routes where oil and hazardous substances are transported.  The notification must include geographic inventories of emergency response equipment and supplies and response staff.  The rail carrier must promptly update this notification in the event of a material change in the information provided.

Subdivision 3 directs a rail carrier to provide route planning and analysis, including risk assessment, required by federal regulations to emergency managers and fire chiefs where oil and hazardous substances are transported.

Subdivision 4 requires a rail carrier to submit hazardous materials emergency response plans to emergency managers and fire chiefs where oil and hazardous substances are transported.

Subdivision 5 requires a rail carrier to provide railroad bridge inspection reports to emergency managers and the appropriate road authorities.

Subdivision 6 requires all rail carries to maintain a single software program accessible by a downloadable application and over the Internet.  The program must provide specific information regarding transportation of oil and other hazardous substances.

Subdivision 7 directs a rail carrier to provide all data required under subdivisions 2 to 6 without abridgment.  The railroad may not require an emergency manager or fire chief to enter into an agreement restricting ability to share data with local emergency responders in the same jurisdiction or other emergency managers or fire chiefs for emergency life-safety response planning and coordination.

Subdivision 8 requires rail carriers, before transporting oil and hazardous substances through the state, to provide community notice on a public Web site of the planned transportation.  The types of information required are detailed in the subdivision, including routes, schedule, number of tankers, description of material transported, emergency response information, and railroad company contact information.  This section is effective July 1, 2016, except Subdivision 6, which is effective July 1, 2017.

Section 4 amends the existing railroad and pipeline safety language to refer to incident preparedness.

Subdivision 1 provides a federal citation for the definition of “hazardous substance.”

Subdivision 2 updates the name of railroad and pipeline safety account to an incident account and increases the annual statutory appropriation to the PCA commissioner from $104,000 to $250,000 for environmental protection activities related to railroad discharge preparedness.

Subdivision 3 adds risks to the general public to the list of priority uses of available funds.  Two categories are added to the specified permissible uses of funds.  These are life-safety emergency response exercises and public education and outreach.

Subdivision 4 updates the name of the relevant account.

Section 5 instructs the Revisor to recodify two subdivisions now coded in the oil and hazardous substance discharge preparedness chapter of statute (Chapter 115E) as subdivisions in the Railroad Safety and Employment chapter (Chapter 219).  These subdivisions relate to the subject of railroad training of fire departments and emergency managers (based on new language in this bill) for emergency response and requirements for railroads to coordinate emergency response activities with various specified entities.

Section 6 provides an effective date for this act of July 1, 2016, except as otherwise provided.


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