Letter Opposing Biden Amendment to S. 4, the "Improving America's Security Act of 2007"
March 13, 2007
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, urges you to oppose the Biden amendment to S. 4, the "Improving America's Security Act of 2007," which would limit the ability of railroads to appropriately manage risks when transporting hazardous material.
The Biden amendment, which would require mandatory rerouting of shipments of hazardous materials around high threat corridors, would not reduce risks to homeland security—it would only reallocate risks among population centers. In fact, the amendment could actually increase risks by either eliminating routes that provide optimal overall safety and security, or by adding hundreds of miles and additional days to the journey of shipments of hazardous materials via less direct routes.
Railroads have worked with the federal government, chemical manufacturers, and consumers to explore the use of coordinated routing arrangements to reduce the mileage and time in transit of highly hazardous materials. Additionally, regulations proposed by the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Transportation will also work to enhance the security of these shipments.
The Biden amendment does not provide tools that will enable railroads to better manage risks associated with the transport of hazardous materials. For these reasons, the Chamber may consider votes on, or in relation to, this issue in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten