02 May 2002 22:22 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (CNI)--The US Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed a rule Thursday to require some 43 000 shippers and carriers of hazardous materials to establish security plans and train employees to prevent attacks.
DOT's Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) said it would accept public comments on the proposal for 30 days as the rulemaking is on an expedited track due to the national security threat posed by possible misuse of these materials in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
The new rule is likely to increase transportation costs for shipment of chemicals and other hazardous materials.
"Millions of tons of explosive, poisonous, corrosive, flammable, and radioactive materials are transported every day by train, truck, or vessel in quantities ranging from several ounces to many thousands of gallons," RSPA said in today's Federal Register announcement.
RSPA noted that DOT's transportation safety program heretofore has been focused on reducing risks related to the accidental release of hazardous materials. But 9/11 has forced a shift in that focus.
"In the wrong hands, hazardous materials can pose a significant security threat," DOT said, noting that while in transport the materials are "particularly vulnerable to sabotage or misuse."
RSPA said the rule would facilitate monitoring and tracking of hazardous materials shipments by shippers, carriers, and enforcement authorities. It would also reduce the potential for certain materials to be targets for terrorists, and increase security awareness for hazardous materials employees, according to the notice.
RSPA estimates that the 43 000 shippers and carriers covered by the rule would incur a $26.4m (Euro30m) first-year compliance cost to develop and update security plans. In addition, shippers and carriers would be required to spend another $4.5m for first-year personnel training costs and $1.5m/year in subsequent years.
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