House passes legislation on rail solid waste
The House of Representatives passed the Clean Railroads Act of 2007, legislation
authored by United States Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and cosponsored
by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), that will allow states to regulate solid
waste processing facilities along rail lines. It was included as an amendment
to larger rail safety legislation.
The amendment eliminates a loophole in federal law that
prohibits states from enforcing environmental, health and safety regulations
at these rail sites. This loophole has allowed railroad companies to pile
trash, largely consisting of construction debris, at times two stories high.
“It is critical that we allow states to protect their residents through
effective regulation of solid waste processing,” said Lautenberg.
The House’s vote to approve the amendment came one day after Sen. Lautenberg
testified before a House Transportation and Infrastructure panel on regulation
of these waste sites. At the hearing, he was joined by Rep. Frank Pallone
(D-NJ-06), the sponsor of the House version of the measure.
In September, the Senate passed a temporary measure authored
by Senator Lautenberg to allow New Jersey to regulate some solid waste processing
facilities on railroads. The measure was included in a one-year spending
bill for transportation and housing programs which expires after one year.