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API Calls on Congress to Take Action to Prevent Catastrophic Disruptions to Freight Rail Network

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WASHINGTON, September 13, 2022 – The American Petroleum Institute (API) today sent a letter to the ranking members of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation expressing API’s concern about the critical, ongoing railroad labor negotiations and the potential work stoppage if a negotiated solution fails to emerge. 

“API requests that Congress prepare to act if negotiations this week fail to produce agreement to facilitate a workable settlement and prevent catastrophic disruptions to the freight rail network,” Senior Vice President of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs Frank Macchiarola wrote in the letter. “Last Friday, representatives of the oil and gas industry began receiving notifications from the railroads that they intend to begin curtailing shipments of hazardous materials and other chemicals as of today, to ensure carloads of product are not stranded on the tracks if a work stoppage occurs. This curtailment alone, could have profound impacts on the ability of our industry to deliver critical energy supplies to market.” 

“Over the years, the U.S. railroad system has evolved into a broad network, delivering vital goods throughout the country,” Macchiarola said. “Our nation’s extensive rail network moves significant quantities of energy products across the country such as coal, ethanol, wind turbine components and crude oil. Rail also transports essential products such as propane, asphalt, lubricants, gasoline, jet fuel and other necessities people rely on every day.”

“Along with energy products, railroads haul a wide variety of goods such as agricultural and food products, raw materials such as chemicals and finished products including electronics, auto parts and furniture. Further, rail is critical for the export of many of U.S. products to fill the global gap caused by the war in Ukraine. The ability to grow and support domestic and international commerce also hinges on efficient and reliable transportation systems – networks that have been significantly challenged over the past two years,” Macchiarola wrote. 

“It is of critical importance to all sectors of the economy that these parties reach an amicable agreement and avoid any service disruption,” Macchiarola said. “The American people and our global partners depend on our nation’s supply chain and the Congress’s engagement to ensure undisrupted rail service, which is vital to the economy. Any rail work stoppage in the United States would exacerbate the ongoing supply chain challenges, negatively impact the U.S economy and harm American consumers and jobs.” 

Click here for a copy of the full letter. 

API represents all segments of America’s natural gas and oil industry, which supports more than 11 million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. Our approximately  600 members produce, process and distribute the majority of the nation’s energy, and participate in API Energy Excellence®, which is accelerating environmental and safety progress by fostering new technologies and transparent reporting. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization and has developed more than 800 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.


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