FEDS ISSUE RULE ON RAILROAD TRANSPORT OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Posted on May 1, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

After years of prodding and contentious discussions about hazardous materials carried by railroads through populous areas, the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has announced an interim final rule aimed at reducing potential threats. Railcars carry hazmat through many US communities and quite possibly yours.

The rule may lead to safer railroad transport of dangerous chemicals such as ammonia, chlorine, radioactive materials, and other explosive, corrosive, and poisonous substances. But many critics, including the railroads, say the rule is tepid at best.

The rule, announced April 16, 2008, and intended to address threats from both terrorists and accidents, requires railroad carriers to begin no later than July 1, 2008, to collect data on hazardous shipments and to assess safety and security risks along pertinent routes. They would then need to consider alternative routes. The initial data collection, analysis, and route assessment process is supposed to be completed by Sept. 1, 2009. Along with potential effects on high-population areas, the railroads are supposed to consider impacts on environmentally sensitive and significant areas.

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