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House bill would ban railroads from using remotes to move haz-mat loads

On June 9, Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) introduced a bill (H.R. 2843) in the House proposing to ban the transportation of hazardous materials via remote-controlled locomotives.

Referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the bill also would require railroads to inventory remote-control transmitters, assign transmitters only to authorized personnel and store transmitters in a secure location. Any railroad that violates the proposed rules would be subject to a civil penalty between $5,000 and $50,000 for each violation.

“All federal investigations have raised serious concerns with remote-control safety,” said Green in a prepared statement. “This bill is needed because hazardous materials have the highest safety and security risks, so they should be banned from remote-control trains until proven safe.”

Green recently sent letters to BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad urging the Class Is to restrict remote-control operations in their yards.

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More News from 6/14/2005