Last month, Rep Deluzio (D,PA) introduced HR 1238, the Decreasing
Emergency Railroad Accident Instances Locally (DERAIL) Act. The bill would
require DOT to change the definition of ‘high-hazard flammable train’ (HHFT) and
to require reporting derailments of involving toxic inhalation hazard (TIH)
rail cars. No funding is provided in the bill.

Moving Forward

Deluzio is not a member of the House Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration, but
seven of his 27 Democrat cosponsors {Rep Garamendi (D,CA), Rep Ryan (D,NY), Rep
Titus (D,NV), Rep DeSaulnier (D,CA), Rep Hoyle (D,OR), Rep Holmes-Norton (D,DC)}
are members, so this bill could have enough influence to see it considered in
Committee. I do, however, suspect that there would be near unanimous Republican
objections to this bill because of the additional burdens it would place on
railroads and shippers, so there is little chance that the bill would be
favorably considered. Similar opposition would ensure that it would not make it
to the floor of the House for consideration.


While the wording of this bill is relatively simple on its
face, this is a prime example of simple words hiding a complex result. Part of
that result in this case is intended, the notification requirements (even
though protected by the SSI classification) for HHFT have long been a desire
for local communities for all trains carrying hazardous materials. I have never
understood this desire, since most communities do not have the funds or
resources to plan, staff and equip in advance for an incident like that seen
last month in Ohio.


For more details about the provisions of this bill, and
their implications for rail incident planning and reporting – see my article at
CFSN Detailed Analysis –
– subscription required.

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Author Of this post: PJCoyle

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