Legislation has been re-introduced in the House of Representatives that would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to impose additional security requirements for shipments of extremely hazardous materials, including rerouting of such shipments around areas that raise particular security concerns when a safer route is available.
The legislation was introduced by Rep Edward Markey (D-MA), and Sen Jon Corzine (D-NJ) is expected to follow suit in the Senate.
The bill would require DHS to re-route the most dangerous materials around densely populated or other sensitive areas when a safer route is available, increase the physical security measures surrounding shipments of extremely hazardous materials, and require the use of technologies that could make railcars containing toxic gases more resistant to punctures.
The bill also would call for increased coordination between industry, the law enforcement community, and first responders so that emergency personnel are notified before toxic chemicals are transported through their jurisdictions.
It also would require training for hazmat employees, provide whistleblower protection to those who report security and/or safety problems, and impose civil and administrative penalties for rule violations.