Friday, March 17, 2023

Review – HR 1238 Introduced – DERAIL Act

Last month, Rep Deluzio (D,PA) introduced HR 1238, the Decreasing Emergency Railroad Accident Instances Locally (DERAIL) Act. The bill would require DOT to change the definition of ‘high-hazard flammable train’ (HHFT) and to require reporting derailments of involving toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) rail cars. No funding is provided in the bill.

Moving Forward

Deluzio is not a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to which this bill was assigned for consideration, but seven of his 27 Democrat cosponsors {Rep Garamendi (D,CA), Rep Ryan (D,NY), Rep Titus (D,NV), Rep DeSaulnier (D,CA), Rep Hoyle (D,OR), Rep Holmes-Norton (D,DC)} are members, so this bill could have enough influence to see it considered in Committee. I do, however, suspect that there would be near unanimous Republican objections to this bill because of the additional burdens it would place on railroads and shippers, so there is little chance that the bill would be favorably considered. Similar opposition would ensure that it would not make it to the floor of the House for consideration.


While the wording of this bill is relatively simple on its face, this is a prime example of simple words hiding a complex result. Part of that result in this case is intended, the notification requirements (even though protected by the SSI classification) for HHFT have long been a desire for local communities for all trains carrying hazardous materials. I have never understood this desire, since most communities do not have the funds or resources to plan, staff and equip in advance for an incident like that seen last month in Ohio.


For more details about the provisions of this bill, and their implications for rail incident planning and reporting – see my article at CFSN Detailed Analysis - - subscription required.

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