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“a State cannot use safety as a pretext for inhibiting market growth.”

"The state of Washington issued regulations in 2019 that would limit the volatility of crude oil being transported by rail through the state. As DeSmog has reported, lowering the volatility of dangerous crude oil like the Bakken oil from North Dakota is necessary to remove the threats of these bomb trains. To limit the volatility of the crude oil being produced in the Bakken region that is currently being shipped by rail to Washington refineries, oil producers would need to stabilize the oil by removing volatile natural gas liquids like propane and butane — something producers refuse to do because those natural gas liquids that make the oil more volatile and dangerous also make it more valuable to refineries. In 2019 Lynn Helms, director of North Dakota's Department of Mineral Resources, made it clear that to remove the volatile elements of the Bakken crude oil mixture would “devalue the crude oil immensely.” In 2020, however, PHMSA overruled Washington and argued that it did so because “a State cannot use safety as a pretext for inhibiting market growth.” As a result, the dangerous trains continued to move volatile oil through Washington. In December, a train full of volatile Bakken crude oil was going seven miles per hour on a straight flat track in Custer, Washington. It derailed and the tank cars ruptured and spilled oil which immediately ignited in the middle of town. As it has done with the dangerous practice of moving oil and ethanol by rail, by not requiring known safety improvements like modern ECP brakes for LNG trains, PHMSA is also effectively allowing the rail industry to volunteer to make any safety improvements instead of doing its job of regulating safety."