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NACD Submits Testimony on Common Carrier Obligation for Surface Transportation Board Hearing

The National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) has filed written testimony with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in advance of a public hearing on the railroads’ common carrier obligation to transport hazardous materials to be held on July 22.

Next week’s hearing will focus exclusively on the railroads’ common carrier obligation to transport hazardous materials, particularly toxic inhalation materials (TIH), and follows an April 24-25 general hearing on the common carrier obligation.

NACD’s testimony emphasizes the safety and efficiency of transporting hazardous materials, particularly TIH materials such as chlorine and anhydrous ammonia, by rail. The testimony also outlines the problems that would occur, including substantial transportation cost increases, shipment delays, and opportunities for loading and unloading incidents, if the railroads were to be relieved of their common carrier obligation and the transportation of TIH materials had to be shifted to truck.

“Because TIH materials, particularly chlorine and anhydrous ammonia, are building blocks for so many products that are essential to Americans’ health and well-being, the economic impact of a lack of rail service to transport these materials would be severe. Shifting the transportation of these products to truck would result in the need for more personnel to safely load and unload the products and to drive the tank trucks. It would also require more fuel for all of the additional trucks on the road. With fuel prices continuing to increase, with no signs of dropping any time soon, this would substantially increase the costs of essential goods, ranging from food to medicine to clothing for all Americans. With fuel prices so high, it would be devastating to remove such an efficient mode of transportation for materials that are essential to so many aspects of the economy and public health,” states the testimony.

In the testimony, NACD also urges the federal government to refrain from shifting railroads’ potential liability for hazardous materials incidents to shippers, stating that this would reduce the incentive for the railroads to run safer operations in order to avoid incidents such as those that occurred in Minot, ND, in 2002, and Graniteville, SC, in 2005, both of which the National Transportation Safety Board found to be the result of railroad infrastructure and operational failures.

To view the full testimony, go to /advocacy/comments.aspx.
:  http://www.nacd.com/advocacy/comments.aspx


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