ACC calls for improvement in hazmat railcar design
Jun 16, 2006 11:18 AM
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has voiced concerns about design changes to railcars used in hazardous materials transportation and other railroad hazmat issues, according to ACC information presented before the House of Representatives Railroads Subcommittee June 13.
In addition, the council called for an ongoing partnership between ACC, its member companies, transportation partners, emergency responders and the government in order to improve the safety of hazmat transportation. “Today, we are concerned that the partnership is being compromised by our rail partners and we believe their proposals are driving us down the wrong track regarding hazardous materials transportation safety,” said Marty Durbin, ACC's federal affairs managing director. Among ACC’s concerns are what it said are the rush to judgment about tank car design changes by the Association of American Railroad's Tank Car Committee and efforts to alter the basic liability rules that govern hazardous materials transportation.
According to ACC, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Railroad Association (FRA) echoed ACC’s concern about railroad operational safety. “While FRA has ordered hundreds of millions of dollars of tank car improvements and will not hesitate to do more when we have the requisite knowledge, the primary strategy for preventing catastrophic releases of hazardous materials is the prevention of accidents” said Joseph Boardman, Federal Railroad Administration.
Robert Chipkevich from NTSB testified: “…because of the time it will take to design and construct improved tank cars, the Board believes that the most expedient and effective means to reduce the public risk from the release of highly poisonous gases in train accidents is for railroads to implement operational measures that will minimize the vulnerability of tank cars transporting these products.”
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