Statement of William Canary
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Trucking Associations, Inc. (ATA)
Prepared for the
Hearing on the Chemical Security Act of 2001
Before the Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics, Risk, and Waste Management
U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Wednesday, November 14, 2001
Good morning Mr. Chairman and members of this Subcommittee. My name is William Canary and I am President and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, Inc. (ATA), with offices located at 2200 Mill Road, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. ATA is the national trade association of the trucking industry. Through its affiliated state trucking associations, affiliated conferences and other organizations, ATA represents more than 30,000 trucking companies throughout these United States. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to speak to this Subcommittee today on behalf of ATA.
Mr. Chairman, in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the U.S. trucking industry has continued to work hard to support America's goals of keeping our country and our economy moving forward. I am very proud of this industry's efforts to keep America moving. In fact, on the morning of September 11, ATA staff were able to view from our headquarters the smoke rising from the attack on the Pentagon, and from the opposite side of the ATA building, they were able to see trucks on the Capital beltway continuing to move America.
As members of this Subcommittee know, motor carriers are a critical component of the United States' economic strength, with 9 billion tons of freight transported by intercity and local trucks, representing 68% of the total domestic tonnage shipped. The trucking industry generates revenues of $606 billion annually, equaling almost 5% of our GDP, and a figure that represents nearly 87% of all revenues generated by our nation's freight transportation industry.
As in all other sectors of our country's economy, the horrific attacks have heightened security concerns in the trucking industry, and even more so after it was recently reported by the FBI that some suspected terrorists had obtained commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) to operate large trucks. It appears that motor carriers involved in transporting hazardous materials may have been, or may be, targeted for hijackings or theft for use in potential acts of terrorism. Obviously, this is a major concern to our industry, and I commend you for holding this hearing today to identify ways to address these threats.
In my testimony today, I will communicate ATA's longstanding involvement in trucking security issues, including issues associated with the transportation of hazardous materials and sensitive military freight. I also will recommend several potential legislative improvements to S. 1602, as introduced, to enhance security in the trucking industry without compromising the efficiencies realized through the uniform hazardous materials regulations.
II. ATA's Involvement in Hazardous Materials Transportation Security
ATA and its members are actively involved in providing safe and secure transportation of goods on behalf of customers and their consumers. Since 1982, ATA has maintained a Council of members dedicated to advancing security and loss prevention issues. The name of this organization has undergone numerous changes since its inception, and today is known as the Safety & Loss Prevention Management Council (Safety Council). The Safety Council has two committees, the Security Committee and the Claims and Loss Prevention Committee, that have addressed many trucking security issues, including driver and vehicle security, cargo security, and facility security. The committees consist of security directors, many of whom are former law enforcement personnel, from a broad array of America's leading motor carriers. The committees publish guidelines and educational materials to assist motor carriers to enhance the security of their operations.
Presently, the transportation of hazardous materials must comply with the comprehensive federal hazardous materials regulations, which are adopted and enforced by the states. Therefore, motor carriers involved with transportation of hazardous materials do work with the states, and their respective permit and registration programs if applicable, to increase transportation safety and prepare for emergency response activities.
Certain classes of hazardous materials are more regulated than others. For instance, high-level nuclear wastes from power plants are closely monitored by several Federal agencies, including the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Transportation (DOT). Motor carriers involved in moving this material are pre-screened and approved by DOE. In fact, the trucking industry played an integral role in the development of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Level VI enhanced radioactive transporter inspection criteria, which is specifically designed to afford a high level of driver, vehicle, and load scrutiny prior to the truck leaving the shipper's facility.
Military shipments are another category of specific concern. Military shipments of Security Risk Category I and II, Arms, Ammunition and Explosives (SRC I & II, AAE), are highly regulated, as are lesser Class I explosive shipments of the Department of Defense (DOD). Prior to transporting these materials, motor carriers must be approved by the DOD, and after approval, they are closely monitored. Drivers are carefully selected and must successfully complete security background checks. Motor carrier terminals must meet certain levels of security as prescribed by the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC). And, shipments of SRC I & II AAE must be transported directly from point of origin to destination with minimal delay.
Since October 2000, ATA has worked closely with MTMC through ATA’s Government Traffic Policy Committee (prior to October 2000, the now-defunct Explosive Carriers Conference of the ATA performed that task) on a number of issues regarding safety and security of DOD shipments. Deliberations continue on MTMC's newest policies and procedures for transportation of SRC I & II AAE, including the recently proposed standards for motor carrier terminals. ATA has provided MTMC with valuable information on possible security concerns and related solutions. The trucking industry views these measures as paramount to the safe and efficient transportation of these materials, and will continue to work with MTMC to see that AAE shipments arrive securely at their proper destination.
ATA also worked with Sandia Laboratories to gather information for its Department of Justice (DOJ) study entitled the "Chemical Plant Vulnerability Assessment Project." This study, which examined the vulnerability of chemical plants that produce chemicals of mass destruction to terrorist attack and included the transportation chain, was presented to the ATA Safety Council’s Hazardous Materials Committee in September 2001. ATA's Committee members provided information to Sandia Laboratories earlier in the year concerning transportation security issues of these types of hazardous materials and will continue to support this important project.
The safe, efficient and secure movement of hazardous materials is of great importance to the trucking industry. Through work with DOT, CVSA, MTMC, Sandia Labs, and a multitude of associations whose members produce chemicals and hazardous materials, ATA and its members have demonstrated that secure transportation of hazardous materials is a primary concern. ATA will continue to work with interested parties to ensure that the transportation of hazardous materials remains one of the safest transportation activities in the world.
III. The Trucking Industry’s Support in the Aftermath of September 11th
Assistance in Relief Efforts
In the aftermath of September 11, the trucking industry worked around the clock to support the relief efforts in New York and Washington by delivering critical cargo to the rescue workers. For example, the Federal Emergency Management Agency worked closely with the New Jersey Motor Transport Association to coordinate truck efforts in and around New York City. Emergency responders and trucking executives coordinating the recovery applauded trucking for its rapid response after the attacks.
As part of their support efforts, trucking companies delivered all types of supplies and equipment to the attack sites including medical supplies, earth moving equipment, communications equipment, emergency generators, mobile lighting trucks for nighttime rescue work, respirators, coveralls, protective gloves, blankets, and thousands of pounds of food and drinks. In addition, many dump truck drivers showed up to volunteer their services and worked 12-hour shifts.
Motor carriers throughout the trucking industry voluntarily took a number of measures to increase the security of their operations immediately following the attacks. Many motor carriers re-evaluated their overall security procedures for pick-up and delivery, for their service locations, terminals and loading-dock facilities, and for dispatch operations to vehicles in cities and on the road. In addition to requesting their personnel to report any suspicious activity to law enforcement personnel, other examples of actions taken include:
· Initiating new background checks through systems currently available to motor carriers;
· Designating specific drivers for specific types of loads and studying the specific routes to be used;
· Instructing drivers not to stop or render assistance except in the case of a clear emergency, and alerting drivers of possible ploys to obtain vehicles for hijacking purposes;
· Emphasizing to all trucking company employees, not only drivers, to stay alert and remain aware of their surroundings at all times, especially when transporting hazardous materials;
· Advising drivers transporting hazardous materials to avoid highly populated areas, whenever possible, and to use alternate routes if feasible;
· Verifying seal integrity at each and every stop. Notifying central dispatch immediately if a seal is compromised; and
· Advising drivers to notify supervisors/managers of any suspicious shipments, and if deemed necessary, to contact local police or law enforcement authorities to request inspection of shipment under safe practices.
These are just a few of the proactive measures that trucking companies around the country took to enhance their operational security for not only on-the-road operations, but also at terminals and other facilities.
In addition to the emergency relief efforts of many ATA members, and the additional security measures taken, ATA staff has also worked closely with federal officials to collect information requested by the federal government and to disseminate critical security-related information to trucking companies throughout the country. For example, in the hours and days immediately following the attacks, DOT officials turned to ATA staff to provide information on trucking company security programs. ATA was pleased to share the requested information with DOT officials. Bush Administration officials also requested that ATA provide information on diesel fuel supply and pricing throughout the country. Once again, ATA staff delivered the information. ATA also assisted DOT in communicating information to hazardous materials transporters throughout the country on the agency's upcoming security sensitivity visits. In fact, ATA established an emergency information clearinghouse on its website, that it continues to update as additional information becomes available. ATA continues to stand ready to assist DOT, the FBI, and any other government agency that needs assistance in these unprecedented times.
Managing the Risks from Mobile Sources
The proposed legislation does not adequately distinguish the risks from hazardous materials storage and production from the risks of transporting such materials. For example, while the creation of buffer zones around chemical storage and production facilities may be an acceptable way to reduce ancillary damage that flows from the accidental or criminal release of substances of concern, such a requirement is completely unworkable as applied to the transportation of hazardous materials. It is virtually impossible to transport hazardous materials over the road while maintaining a buffer zone around those materials. S. 1602 should be rewritten to make clear that the buffer zone requirement, if implemented, applies only to stationary sources. We also note that buffer zones may be problematic for a large number of trucking terminals that are storing petroleum products. Many of these terminals are located in developed areas, where the additional real estate required to create a buffer zone simply is not available.
RSPA Must be Part of the Regulatory Process
The Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) is the agency within the Department of Transportation that has jurisdiction over the transportation of hazardous materials. RSPA’s regulations already address the risks of accidental releases from the transportation of hazardous materials, establishing among other things, driver training requirements, container requirements, labeling requirements, and incident reporting procedures. Rather than assigning primary responsibility to RSPA for mandating regulations to address the perceived additional risks from criminal releases of hazardous materials, S. 1602, excludes RSPA from the process and instead vests the Environmental Protection Agency with the responsibility for controlling these risks. The EPA, however, does not have the expertise to address the risks inherent in the transportation of hazardous materials and may promulgate regulations that frustrate the efficient movement of such materials in commerce. On the other hand, RSPA has expertise in the environmental risks associated with accidental releases, and also has the expertise in regulating the transportation of hazardous materials. Accordingly, ATA believes that RSPA should assume the lead role in promulgating regulations applicable to preventing the criminal release of substances of concern while in transportation.
The proposed legislation also requires the lead regulatory agency to consult with local regulators responsible for responding to accidental releases. While this requirement is appropriate for addressing the risks from stationary sources located within the local jurisdiction it is inappropriate for mobile sources and likely will lead to a patchwork quilt of regulations that frustrate the efficient transportation of hazardous materials.
Congress has repeatedly recognized that the harmonization of regulations relating to the transportation of hazardous materials is necessary to ensure the safe and efficient transportation of such materials. S. 1602 has the potential to compromise the global harmonization of the hazardous materials transportation requirements, resulting in increased costs, increased transfer of such materials and the increased potential for accidental releases. Each time hazardous materials are transferred, loaded or unloaded, there is an increased potential for an accidental release. Harmonization of the hazardous materials transportation regulations reduces the number of transfers between facilities, resulting in a corresponding reduction in the risk of an accidental release.
Cost – Benefit Analysis
The proposed legislation has the potential to significantly increase the costs of storing and transporting certain hazardous materials. While additional regulatory requirements and the corresponding increase in the costs of transporting hazardous materials may be an acceptable trade-off for increased assurance that these materials will not be the subject of a criminal release, the proposed legislation contains no limitation on EPA’s authority to require expensive regulatory controls, even in the face of only a marginal decrease in the risk of a release. For this reason, we believe that the legislation should be modified to require the implementing agency to perform a cost-benefit analysis to ensure that the costs of additional regulatory requirements will produce a tangible benefit, namely the elimination or substantial reduction in the likelihood of a release to the environment.
S. 1602 authorizes the Administrator to require any person that may have information relating to a potential accidental or criminal release to maintain records and potentially report such information. This requirement as applied to the transportation of hazardous materials is superfluous, as the hazardous materials regulations already require incident reporting. The requirement also is potentially duplicative of EPA’s regulations issued under the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act. Moreover, there is no guidance provided as to the meaning of a “potential accidental release.”
One of the most troubling aspects of the proposed legislation is its creation of a general duty clause similar to that contained in the Occupational Safety and Health Act. This provision could make trucking companies liable for an accidental or criminal release, even if they have complied with all of the applicable regulations. This type of provision is unfair as applied to trucking companies. Trucking companies are not security experts. They should be permitted to rely on compliance with the comprehensive set of hazardous materials regulations to reduce the risk of a release of such materials to the environment and not have potential liability in the event of an accidental or criminal release.
Mr. Chairman, ATA members understand they are entrusted with the secure transportation of goods that keep America moving forward. Law enforcement has frequently been a strong ally in ATA’s longstanding efforts to ensure the security of cargo on America’s highways and across our international borders. We look forward to continued cooperation with those authorities charged with securing our Nation against future terrorist threats. ATA understands the role trucking must play to ensure our national security in this newly changed landscape. The trucking industry asks that Congress ensure that new legislative initiatives distinguish between the risks of accidental or criminal releases from stationary sources and the risks from potential releases from mobile sources. Legislation that is properly tailored to address risks from mobile sources will allow the trucking industry to better fulfill its role to safely and securely transport our nation's freight. Broad legislation that does not distinguish between the inherent risks from mobile and stationary sources likely will complicate the safe and efficient movement of hazardous materials. I am pleased that this Subcommittee and the full Commerce Committee have expressed strong interest in advancing our industry's security proposals. As we have in the past, ATA will continue to work to enhance security in the trucking industry.
Thank you for the opportunity to share our views with you.