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STB Decision Will Help Support the Safe Shipment of Chemicals That Are Critical to a Healthy U.S. Economy


Contact: Scott Jensen (202) 249-6511  
Email: scott_jensen@americanchemistry.com

WASHINGTON (May 2, 2013)The American Chemistry Council (ACC) issued the following statement on a ruling by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) this week. The STB rejected Union Pacific’s (UP) proposed tariff on Toxic Inhalation Hazard (TIH) shipments that would have created new and unwarranted indemnifications for the railroads, which would have essentially shifted liability from a rail carrier to shippers:

“We commend the STB for making a sound decision that will serve the public interest by helping to ensure the safe shipment of chemicals to American manufacturers that depend on them. The U.S. Department of Transportation has stated that ‘TIH materials are essential to the economy and national health [and] rail movement of these materials is extremely safe.’ The STB also has stated unequivocally that ‘the safe and efficient shipment of TIH by rail is in the public interest.’

“The STB’s decision reaffirms that improvements in rail safety can continue to be made by collaborative actions ‘that are significantly less onerous than requiring shippers to bear liabilities for which they are not directly responsible.’ By rejecting this unreasonably broad tariff, the STB avoided setting a dangerous precedent that would have undermined the federal common carrier obligation that is intended to preserve shippers’ access to freight rail service.

“ACC’s members remain committed to doing their part to ensure the safe transport of all chemical products. We look forward to continue working with our railroad, government and other partners to further improve an already strong safety record and to transport these essential products to the thousands of American manufacturers that depend on them every day.”

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