Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Rail Security: Will the Information Be Shared?

GovExec has a short article today about pending rules from TSA regarding rail shipments of hazardous materials:

The Transportation Security Administration is set to propose a new rule that would require rail carriers to respond more quickly to government queries on the whereabouts of hazardous chemicals they transport through urban centers.

Under the proposed rule, slated for publication next week in the Federal Register, transporters of potentially explosive chemicals or those that could be lethal if inhaled would have as little as five minutes to tell federal investigators the precise location of rail shipments, in the highest risk situations. In less severe circumstances, the companies would be allowed up to half an hour to respond.

The regulation also would require industry officials to designate a rail security coordinator to work with federal officials and track and reduce "standstill" time for railroad cars carrying hazardous materials.
Here's my question: Who notifies local authorities, who will be the first on the scene in any hazardous materials incident? In a HAZMAT incident, every second counts. If lives are to be saved in this type of incident, they will be saved by local personnel. Will the information be shared promptly with local authorities?

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