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August 15, 2014 3:00 PM, EDT

DOT Announces Grants to States for Hazmat Training

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The Department of Transportation announced this week it will award states grants to help them respond to crude oil railroad spills.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said states, U.S. territories and Native American tribes will split about $20 million to improve their response to accidents that involve hazardous materials, such as crude oil.

Topping the list were California at $1.7 million, Texas at $1.2 million and Illinois at $1 million.

The grants are managed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s hazardous materials emergency preparedness program. PHMSA is a division of the U.S. DOT.

Foxx has said the delivery of crude oil and other energy materials would be safer if the connectivity between truck routes, rail, and waterways improves. After recent high-profile crashes involving the transport of crude oil by rail, DOT proposed enhanced tank-car standards meant to phase out older tank cars for shipment of most crude oil within two years.

“Well-trained first responders play a critical role in any hazardous materials incident, including those involving crude oil,” Foxx said in Aug. 13. “These grants are another tool in the department's comprehensive approach to improving the transportation of crude oil and other hazardous material across the country.