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Senate bill advocates re-routing haz-mat tank cars, stepping up chemical shipment security


Yesterday, Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) introduced the Hazardous Materials Vulnerability Reduction Act of 2005, which proposes to develop a comprehensive, risk-based strategy for handling hazardous materials shipments via rail.

The bill would require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to determine which chemicals should be classified as “extremely hazardous materials,” and work with state and local officials to identify high-threat corridors, and railroads to re-route extremely hazardous materials around the corridors.

The legislation also would require DHS to develop protocols to provide local officials notice of chemical types and quantities to be moved through their area; create initiatives to study security measures related to railroads and tankers; and authorize $100 million to provide training to emergency responders and rail workers who handle hazardous materials.

“The current state of our rail security system is worse than an accident waiting to happen, it is an open invitation to terrorists,” said Biden in a prepared statement. “The FBI and CIA have discovered intelligence that rail shipments of chemical tankers have been targeted by terrorists. Re-routing is the best way to eliminate the threat of a terrorist attack on chemical cars.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/17/2005