DC Seeks to Stop Toxic Trains at Risk from Terrorism
March 2, 2005
Each day huge cargoes of highly toxic chemicals pass through Washington, D.C. onboard trains that are routed within mere blocks of the U.S. Capitol and Whitehouse. CSX Transportation (CSX), the rail operator, transports enormous quantities of ultra-hazardous chemicals such as liquefied chlorine gas without even minimal security from potential terrorist threats. Federal experts have testified that in the event of a terrorist attack on a rail tank car containing chlorine, a deadly plume of gas would travel up to 14 miles, killing or seriously injuring up to 100,000 people within 30 minutes. After local Sierra Club activists demanded anti-terrorism regulations to protect the health and safety of local citizens, the D.C. City Council finally enacted legislation establishing a 2.2-mile protective zone around the city. Now, however, CSX has filed a lawsuit challenging the new law. Sierra Club has moved to intervene on behalf of the city to defend its residents from the real threat of poisoning posed by the chlorine gas.
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