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"A train derailment and fatal chemical spill on Jan. 18, 2002, in Minot, N.D., exposed the vulnerability of our nation's transportation of common but hazardous agricultural chemical," the Forum reports. The story depict the disaster -- known as the largest spill of anhydrous ammonia, a farm fertilizer -- in the world but also investigates its causes. The main findings are that pre-1989 railroad tanker cars are susceptible to puncturing in accidents in cold weather; tracks often contain a number of defects; and rescue workers and hospitals are ill-prepared for disasters.
WTAE-TV reports on gaping holes in the security of half a dozen companies in Pittsburgh that handle chemicals and hazardous materials. The security had supposedly been beefed up after the September 11th attacks, but hadn't. After learning of the report, the companies took measures to change their security.
The National Journal analyses the nation's preparedness in dealing with potential terrorist threats at the local level. "The federal government has spent the past five years in a race to help local governments prepare for a chemical attack by terrorists," the Journal reported. After the sarin gas attack in Tokoyo and the Oklahoma City bombing, preparedness has become a growing concern as chermical weapons become easier to produce.
The Federal Aviation Administration has failed to control hazardous materials violations by air carriers. Hazardous cargo often travels aboard commercial as well as cargo carriers.