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D.C. Councilwoman to discuss hazmat ban at national conference

(The Associated Press circulated the following article on March 9.)

WASHINGTON -- D.C. council member Kathy Patterson plans to talk about the city's new ban on hazardous rail shipments at the upcoming National League of Cities conference.

The legislation was approved by the council in February, and prohibits the shipment of certain explosives and poisonous gases within about two miles of the U.S. Capitol building.

Speaking at the mayor's press briefing Wednesday, Patterson said every city, town and state should follow D.C.'s lead in examining the risk of a catastrophic accident. She'll address the conference in D.C. this weekend.

Rail operator CSX is trying to block the city's ban - and is asking that the law be declared unconstitutional on grounds that it impedes interstate commerce.

But city officials are vowing to defend the ban in court. Mayor Anthony Williams says "We've got to protect our people."

Thursday, March 10, 2005

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