Senator Asks GAO to Examine Shale Plays' Transportation Impacts

The letter from U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, also cited the devastating Lac Megantic derailment and fire in Canada on July 6.

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, has sent a letter asking the Government Accountability Office to examine how shale oil and gas development in many regions of the country are affecting existing transportation infrastructure and safety on those roads and in those pipelines.

Rockefeller, D-W.Va., cited the devastating Lac Megantic derailment and fire in Canada on July 6 and also the December 2012 pipeline explosion in Sissonville, W.Va., in his letter, which said the domestic oil and gas energy boom has raised questions about the ability of existing infrastructure to safely transport the extracted products.

This is not a new issue for the senator or the committee. It held a rail safety hearing last month and a field hearing on pipeline safety in January 2013, and GAO is reviewing the U.S. freight rail safety regime at Rockefeller's request.

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