US chem trade group urges Congress to pass freight rail provisions

06 March 2012 16:38  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The American Chemistry Council (ACC) urged lawmakers on Tuesday to allow chemical shippers to have more input on freight rail policies that deal with the transport of toxic chemicals.

The trade group is pushing lawmakers to adopt three key provisions that is part of a transport bill currently under consideration by Congress.

The provisions would ensure chemical producers' ability to continue to safely ship their products in the US, and would encourage further investment in US-based chemical production, the group said.

In particular, the ACC said the final legislation should ensure that shippers have “a seat at the table to weigh in on freight rail policies that would impact the safe delivery of toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) chemicals.”

Furthermore, the bill should include provisions that allow the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to consider the most effective and efficient technologies to help prevent accidents when transporting TIH chemicals by rail, the trade group said.

Finally, the ACC urged Congress to adopt the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act provisions that would improve the safety and efficiency of transporting these chemicals on the road or by rail.

The US chemical industry is in the beginning stages of a comeback, driven by the availability of natural gas, the ACC said.

However, in planning new billion-dollar facilities, access to safe and efficient transportation service is an important consideration as companies decide whether to invest in the US or elsewhere, the group said.

“We have a strong interest in the final outcome” of the legislation, ACC spokesman Scott Jensen told ICIS.

“Our stake in the legislation centres around provisions that would address the ability of our members to continue to safely ship their products where they are needed,” Jensen said.

“Just like chemistry, transportation touches every corner of the economy,” he added.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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