The federal Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that it will seek to establish new regulations to improve the safe transportation of crude oil via the nation’s rail lines.

The news follows an emergency order by the federal agency in May to set transportation safety standards for transporting crude oil from the Bakken oil fields, which are more flammable than other oil and have caught fire in some disastrous train derailments. The new regulations would extend those emergency precautions to all trains carrying 20 or more carloads of crude oil or ethanol.

Environmental advocates hope the regulations will result in requirements for safer rail cars and lower speed limits for the trains.

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, who is among the lawmakers calling for improving safety standards, hailed the announcement.

“Oil trains pose significant risks, and today’s announcement is a step in the right direction toward preventing potential future disasters and keeping our rails and communities safe,” Merkley said in a prepared statement.

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