White House plans to nominate Elliott for PHMSA administrator

The White House intends to nominate Howard R. Elliott, who presently leads public safety, health, environment, and security operations for CSX Transportation in Jacksonville, Fla., to serve as the new administrator of the US Pipeline & Hazardous Material Safety Administration, it announced on Sept. 8.

The White House intends to nominate Howard R. Elliott, who presently leads public safety, health, environment, and security operations for CSX Transportation in Jacksonville, Fla., to serve as the new administrator of the US Pipeline & Hazardous Material Safety Administration, it announced on Sept. 8.

Elliott is a 40-year US freight rail industry veteran. “[Elliott’s} portfolio of responsibility included hazardous materials transportation safety, homeland security, railroad policing, crisis management, environmental compliance and operations, occupational health management, and continuity of business operations,” the White House said.

It called Elliott “a pioneer and leading advocate in developing and implementing computer-based tools to assist emergency management officials, first responders, and homeland security personnel in preparing for and responding to a railroad hazardous materials or security incident.”

Responses to rail accidents involving crude oil became important as shipments grew once it became apparent that there were not enough pipelines to carry light, sweet crude produced from the Bakken shale in North Dakota and eastern Montana and elsewhere in the US.

The issue grew critical after a crew member forgot to set the brake on a parked 72-car train at Lac Megantic, Que., on July 6, 2013, and it rolled away. It eventually jumped the tracks and spilled some 1,000 bbl of Bakken crude which ignited. The fire killed 47 people and destroyed much of the city’s business district.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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