WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the Homeland Security Committee, welcomed the passage of the Rail and Public Transportation Security Act of 2007, bipartisan legislation addressing the security weaknesses in our rail and mass transit systems and ensuring strong whistleblower protections for front-line rail and mass transit security workers.  The bill contains language drafted by Rep. Markey requiring rail carriers to analyze routes and storage facilities for security sensitive materials and select the routes and storage facilities that best reduce the risk and consequences of a terrorist attack on these materials.  Rep. Markey’s language will help protect American citizens from release of materials that pose the greatest threat, such as chlorine or propane.  Most assessments put this material at less than 1% of all shipments.

Rep. Markey said, “Every day, tank cars pass through our urban centers carrying enough chlorine to kill 100,000 people in half an hour.  Although some of these shipments must travel the routes they are currently using, others could easily be safely re-routed to avoid population centers and other sensitive areas.”

Rep. Markey continued, “We already know that these chemicals are attractive terrorist targets. Just a few weeks ago, several deadly attacks in Iraq involved improvised explosive devices that included canisters of deadly chlorine gas, and a planned attack involving a truck full of chlorine was foiled this past weekend.  Whether it’s an accident or an al Qaeda attack, we need to make sure that shipments of deadly chemicals are more secure.”

“Now is the time to upgrade the security for these toxic shipments so no one is needlessly exposed to a catastrophic chemical release that could have been avoided if we took these simple steps,” Rep. Markey concluded.

March 27, 2007

CONTACT: Will Huntington
David Moulton