Hazardous cargo legislation stalled on the tracks

1:14 AM, Oct 14, 2007   |    comments
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In this twisted metal and a fiery blast furnace are hazardous materials including ethanol. Six hundred people in a half mile radius of the train derailment were evacuated. By most accounts though, it could have been much worse. "It's pretty horrific and it just shows you how real these problems are," Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone said. City Councilman Matt Zone proposed rerouting trains with hazardous loads around Cleveland's most densely populated areas last year. "Most of the cargo that comes through is not for a destination here in our city limits," Zone said. With the help of 2000 Census figures and the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission we took that same half mile radius evacuation area put into effect in Painesville then centered it over Warren Road in Lakewood and the intersecting CSX tracks. If a train went off the tracks here like that in Lake County, more then eight thousand people would be affected. "Local public officials should start immediately to negotiate with the railroads to look at possibilities for rerouting," County Emergency Board Member Stuart Greenberg said. Greenburg helped pass a county resolution that could lead to routing trains away from the lakefront lines south through less populated areas. The big plus here--the infrastructure is already in place. "If there is an accident in the wrong place it's an enormous liability for the railroads," Greenberg said. The railroads are challenging recently passed federal legislation that would do the same thing. Greenberg says it could be years before that law takes affect. Matt Zone's plan is getting resistance from residents where train traffic would be rerouted. Zone says his legislation has been tied up in the safety committee for a year. The process is slow but accidents don't wait.


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