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SB 419: Hazardous Rail Tank Cars (2005)


SB 419 (2005) would have done the following things:

  • Directed the Office of Emergency Services (OES) to create and maintain a hazardous rail tank car database containing the following information:  a) the registration number and year of manufacture for a rail tank car; and, b) a current certificate of compliance provided by the legal owner or lessee of the rail tank car stating that the rail tank car meets certain standards.  The owner must verify the certificate annually.
  • Specifiesdthat the certificate of compliance must state that rail tank cars used to haul hazardous materials meet both of the following industry and federal standards: a) The rail tank car is in compliance with the most recently adopted construction and safety standards for a rail tank car adopted by the American Association of Railroads, M1002, regardless of the date of manufacture of the rail tank car; and, b) The rail tank car is in compliance with Part 105 (commencing with Section 105.5) to Part 180 (commencing with Section 180.1), inclusive, of Chapter I of Subtitle B of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
  • Required the legal owner of a registered hazardous tank to present the certificate of compliance when delivering a tank car containing specified hazardous materials to a railroad for delivery to California.
  • Prohibited any person from shipping specified hazardous materials with heightened risk potential, in or through the state, in a rail tank car other than one that meets the criteria described above.  (The materials, in specified quantities, that must be transported under these restrictions include: explosives, flammable gases, poisonous gases, and inhalation poisons.)
  • Authorized the Office of Emergency Services to charge the rail tank car owner or lessee a fee sufficient to maintain the database for hazardous tank car registrants.
  • Ma legislative findings that the federal government has not acted to prevent a terrorist threat posed by the transportation of ultrahazardous materials through heavily populated urban corridors, and that there is a need for the state to assure that such materials are transported in the safest manner possible using rail tank cars that meet appropriate standards.
  • Directed OES to apply to the Secretary of Transportation for a waiver of preemption if the OES determines that a requirement imposed pursuant to could be preempted by the federal act.

Final Status and Text

SB 419 is no longer active. Its final status was:
Did not pass the Legislature

You can read its final text on the Legislature's Bill Information site.

Background Information

Need for the Bill:

  • The federal government has not acted to prevent the terrorist threat resulting from the transportation of ultrahazardous materials by rail.
  • A terrorist attack on a shipment of, or an accidental leak of, poisonous gas inhalants in a major urban area in the state could result in tens of thousands of deaths and economic damage in the billions of dollars.
  • Requiring tank cars with state of the art containment technology to ship ultrahazardous materials through California causes no significant impact on interstate commerce and will increase pressure on the industry to retire less safe tank cars.
  • The citizens of the state should have a reasonable expectation that hazardous materials are being shipped in the safest manner possible.
  • One-half of the nation’s approximately 60,000 chemical tank cars do not meet industry safety standards as of 2004.  Puncture resistant tank cars are available today to the railroad industry and their use would greatly enhance security and public safety.
  • The federal government considers these ultrahazardous cargoes as “potential weapons of mass destruction,” and very attractive targets for terrorists.  A study by the Naval Research Laboratory reveals that 100 people per second could die if a terrorist were to blow up a tank car full of chlorine.
  • Despite Federal Bureau of Investigation warnings indicating that our nation’s railroads could be likely targets for terrorism, the federal government has left rail security up to private industry, which has not been willing to spend the money necessary to secure the railroads.
  • Since September 11, 2001, the federal government has taken swift action to standardize and heighten security measures throughout our nation’s airports and airlines, but have left our nation’s railroads virtually untouched.