Board Rejects Bid To Shift Hazmat Liability | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 91 Issue 19 | p. 33 | Concentrates
Issue Date: May 13, 2013

Board Rejects Bid To Shift Hazmat Liability

Department: Government & Policy | Collection: Safety
Keywords: Union Pacific, freight railroad, liability , indemnify
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A railroad tanker car on tracks.
 
Credit: Shutterstock

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has rejected a petition filed by Union Pacific that would have allowed the freight railroad to require shippers of highly toxic chemicals to assume most of the financial risk of transporting these commodities. The board, which is part of the Department of Transportation, concluded that Union Pacific failed to adequately show that shifting liability from the rail carrier to the shipper is reasonable. Under the proposal, chemical shippers would have been required to indemnify Union Pacific for “any and all liabilities,” except those caused by the negligence or fault of the rail company. But STB ruled that the plan was “overly broad” because it would have required shippers to shield Union Pacific from liability even in situations where the railroad “can already protect itself through insurance.”

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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