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Safety

DHS Issues Rail Security Standards For Chemicals

by Glenn Hess
November 24, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 47

The Department of Homeland Security has issued final regulations aimed at enhancing the security of rail shipments of hazardous chemicals. The new rules, designed to reduce the risk of terrorist attacks, require freight railroads to establish secure handling and handoff procedures for sensitive materials such as chlorine and anhydrous ammonia. Rail carriers are also required to designate a security coordinator and immediately report incidents, potential threats, and significant security concerns to federal officials. "By striking a sensible balance of security guidelines with certain regulatory requirements, we're enabling the rail and chemical industries to be stronger partners," DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff says. "The results are sound security measures without excessively burdening owners and operators." Cal Dooley, president of the American Chemistry Council, which represents 136 major chemical manufacturers, says the new security regulations "build upon the significant efforts already undertaken by our member companies to protect chemical shipments and the nation." The chemical industry relies on railroads to deliver approximately 170 million tons of products each year.

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