Federal Railroad Administration Rail Hazmat Routing Rule Fact Sheet   [open pdf - 48KB]

"The primary safety and security concern related to the transportation of hazardous materials by rail is preventing a potentially lethal spill or release from occurring in close proximity to heavily populated areas, events or venues with large numbers of people in attendance, iconic buildings and landmarks or environmentally sensitive areas. A catastrophic event of this nature could be the result of an accident or a deliberate act. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) working in close consultation with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued regulations requiring railroads that transport certain hazmat commodities perform a comprehensive safety and security risk analysis in order to determine and select routes which pose the least overall risk. These analyses must include a minimum of 27 specific risk factors including input provided by state and local governments. Importantly, Congress specifically endorsed this approach to rail hazmat routing in Section 1551 of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 [Public Law 110-432]. The law requires railroads to perform the safety and security risk analyses and then to make an appropriate route selection. Further, moving these types of hazmat shipments over rail routes selected in this manner enhances safety and security for people living both in big cities and small towns. In June 2008, the PHMSA Interim Final Rule (IFR) on rail hazmat routing became effective at which time railroads began implementing its various provisions, and FRA began related compliance oversight and enforcement activities."

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