RealNews

Feds Crack Down on Hazardous Cargo

The government will more closely monitor air cargo shipments and seek to prosecute those who illegally ship hazardous materials that officials say could lead to accidents or be used by terrorists to mount attacks. More than 1.5 billion tons of hazardous cargo are shipped nationwide each year by air, rail, sea and land. These include flammable liquids, pressurized gases, explosives, poisons and radioactive material. Shipping these materials illegally heightens the dangers posed by an accident, particularly since firefighters and other first responders would be unaware the substances were there. Officials also worry that terrorists might use perceived lax security to ship hazardous materials or perhaps mount an attack. The government crackdown will target shippers who hide dangerous materials in otherwise safe cargo, obtain fraudulent licenses to carry hazardous materials or violate a variety of safe transportation practices. The 1996 ValuJet crash in the Everglades, which killed 110 people, was blamed on a fire caused by illegal shipment of oxygen generators in the cargo hold. Full Story

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