D.C. approves stricter regs on transporting toxic chemicals

Worried about a possible catastrophic release of toxic chemicals that one study says could kill up to 100,000 people, Washington, D.C.’s 13-member city council has approved a measure limiting the transport of toxic chemicals within a 2.2-mile radius of the Capitol building. Shipments of explosives, flammable gases, and other highly dangerous chemicals into the designated area by road or rail will be permitted only in emergencies or other extenuating circumstances. The transport ban is meant to protect D.C. from deadly events like the derailment of a train carrying chlorine gas in South Carolina last month and the possibility of terrorist attacks similar to the train bombings in Madrid last year. Local rail line company CSX Corp. and other opponents of the safety measure have questioned its constitutionality and say that such bans, if enacted in other areas, could create costly re-routing.