IFCA Busy in DC Last Week
IFCA President Jean Payne testified last week before the Surface Transportation Board in Washington D.C. on the railroad's petition to require the fertilizer industry to foot the bill for their liability insurance for carrying anhydrous ammonia. The railroads have experienced three derailments in the past 10 years involving poison by inhalation materials (ammonia and chlorine). In all three cases, the USDOT and the NTSB ruled that the cause of the accidents were error on the part of the railroad involving worker fatigue, improper track maintenance and switching errors. The Fertilizer Institute, Ag Retailers Association and several fertilizer manufacturers also testified. The STB has indicated they will rule by the end of the year on whether they agree with the railroad's position to require the industry to pay for their liability insurance. Jean presented the perspective of the ag retailers in Illinois, who receive approximately 75,000 tons each year by rail, which is equivalent to approximately 3,700 cargo tank loads. IFCA Board Members Mark Tarter, Ervin Caselton, Robin Schroeder, Rodney Phelps, Martin Case, Bill Romshek and Legislative Commitee Chair Mark Powell also attended the hearing and visited with our Congressional delegation on the importance of off-shore drilling to our industry. Kevin Runkle of IFCA also attended a 3 day Dept of Homeland Security workshop in Bethesda, MD to learn what our members who fell into a Tier category must do to comply. Call Kevin if you have questions about your DHS status.