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ACC applauds hazmat rail transportation proposal

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) is applauding proposed rules for hazmat rail transportation and its opportunity to provide input into the action, according to ACC information.

The council submitted comments to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) regarding the proposed rules, noting "significant efforts already undertaken by ACC member companies under the Responsible Care Security Code to protect chemical shipments."

“While, ACC supports a national approach to the re-routing of certain chemical shipments, we would like DOT to change the route analysis requirement in its proposed rule so that it will match TSA’s focus on non-residue tank car shipments of hazardous materials," said Tom Schick, ACC senior director. “As we move forward, ACC will continue to work with DOT and TSA to ensure the proposed rules make real progress toward enhancing security.”

Railroad companies would be required to perform a safety and security risk analysis to determine the most appropriate route for shipping hazardous materials as part of a new proposal announced December 16 by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The notice of proposed rulemaking, issued by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), would make shipments of certain high-risk hazardous materials, including explosives, radioactive substances, and toxic-inhalation risk materials, DOT said at the time.

Under the proposed rule, rail carriers would be required to compile annual data clearly identifying route segments and the total number and type of hazardous materials shipments transported over each route and use the information to analyze the safety and security risks present on each route. Railroads would then be required to use this data to select the route that provides the highest possible degree of safety and security.

The proposed rule would require shippers to develop consistent plans for safely and securely storing hazardous materials while en route and to ensure that within a specified time period a rail carrier informs the final recipient of a hazardous materials rail car that it has delivered.

The DOT proposal was developed in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which also issued proposed rules designed to address a range of rail hazardous materials transport security issues. The TSA’s proposal would, among other things, require rail carriers and certain facilities to report the location and provide information about hazardous materials shipments to TSA upon request, according to DOT information.

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