Indiana Attorney General calls on U.S. Dept. of Transportation to overrule Washington state law regarding crude oil

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INDIANA (WEHT) – Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is calling on the U.S. Department of Transportation to overrule a law enacted by the State of Washington regarding crude oil.

Hill says the law interferes with federal law and threatens other states.

Earlier this year, the Washington governor signed a bill that requires Bakken crude being shipped through the state by rail to have a lower vapor pressure limit.

Attorneys general from North Dakota and Montana petitioned the Trump administration, asking the federal government to overturn the law. The letter signed by Hill supports the position of those two states.

“This state law will cause economic harm to energy-producing states and it interferes with the federal government’s responsibility for regulating the rail transportation of hazardous materials,” Hill says.

In the letter, a coalition of 10 attorneys general note that shipping energy products by rail is inherently an interstate effort. They say by allowing states to ban the transportation of products like Bakken crude oil would transfer national and international energy policy to a few coastal states.

The letter also points to the federal preemption statute that says states may not create laws that make compliance with federal law impossible or are an obstacle to compliance with federal law.

It also explains if Washington’s law is upheld, other states will likely follow suit.

To read the full letter, click here.

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(This story was originally published on September 24, 2019)

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