September 03, 2015

Manchin and Capito Announce More Than $782,000 for Pipeline and Crude-By-Rail Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today announced West Virginia will receive $782,849 from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA) to improve West Virginia’s response to hazardous materials transportation incidents and better protect communities and families.

West Virginia will receive $198,828 through the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness Grants (HMEP) program, which will allow the state to: develop or revise emergency plans and training activities to account for bulk transportation of energy products by rail and over the road; conduct commodity flow studies to determine the frequency and quantity of hazmat shipments being transported through local communities; and train emergency responders to respond appropriately to incidents involving bulk shipments of energy products. West Virginia will also receive two 2015 State Base Pipeline Safety Grants in the amount of $28,517 and $555,504 to support the state’s pipeline safety programs.  

“Our state has experienced a crude-by-rail accident firsthand, and we realize the importance of making sure our first responders have the resources they need to prepare for and respond to these kinds of incidents,” Senator Manchin said. “The oil train that derailed and exploded in Fayette County last February was not an isolated incident, and we need to do more to protect our citizens from damaging accidents while also ensuring the flow of energy products to those who need them. This grant will allow us to respond quickly and better protect West Virginia communities through the development of a long-term emergency response plan.”

“As the Fayette County train derailment demonstrated, we must be prepared to respond to potential incidents resulting from the rise in energy shipments,” said Senator Capito. “As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I worked to ensure funding for programs that are focused on the safe transport of energy products. I am glad West Virginia will benefit from this funding to help keep our communities safe while also seizing the potential of America’s energy boom.”  


  • Since the February 16 train derailment in Mount Carbon, West Virginia, Senators Manchin and Capito have closely reviewed ways to improve the safety of transporting Bakken crude oil and other energy products along our nation’s railroads.  
  • In March, Senator Manchin introduced the Track, Railroad, and Infrastructure Network (TRAIN) Act to reform the environmental permitting process for rail projects in order to facilitate a more efficient way to approve rail infrastructure. The bipartisan legislation would promote additional investment in rail systems without compromising environmental quality.
  • In March, Senator Manchin joined a group of Senators in sending a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee supporting robust funding for the Safe Transportation of Energy Products Program to improve coordination and investment across the various U.S. Department of Transportation agencies that oversee these activities.
  • As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Capito worked to ensure funding for the Safe Transport of Energy Products (STEP) program in the FY2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Bill.
  • In May, Senators Manchin and Capito sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz applauding the new regulations unveiled that enhance the safety of crude oil transported by rail, but also urged administration officials to expedite a comprehensive study on oil volatility by rail transportation.
  • In July, Senator Manchin secured several provisions to the Senate’s long-term transportation bill that address crude-by-rail safety.