7061 East Pleasant Valley Road, Independence, Ohio 44131 • (216) 241-2630 / Fax: (216) 241-6516

Membership
Benefits
News and Issues
Departments
Information
Secretary-Treasurer
Merchandise
Communications
FELA
Events
Links
User Info

Groups stress security risks of inauguration train trip

(The following report by Matt Hosford and Kate Barrett appeared at ABCnews.com on January 5.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. ó A letter sent to the Secret Service on behalf of environment activist organizations Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth warns that President-elect Barack Obama's train trip to Washington, D.C. before the Jan. 20 inauguration is a far riskier mode of transport than his typical travels by plane, automobile or helicopter.

The letter states that the whistle-stop tour is vulnerable to attack due to the threat of hazardous chemicals and cargo along the east coast rail corridor. It also states that even if the President-elect is protected, lots of other folks would be in harm's way if there were an attack on a chemical facility along the route.

"This means that during a period of some days of heightened vulnerability to terrorism, Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden on this day will be highly visible and relatively approachable together on the difficult-to-protect Eastern Urban rail corridor," the letter states.

"Some of the more dangerous chemical facilities in the country are also in that corridor," Fred Millar, a Friends of the Earth consultant, told ABC News on Monday. Millar and his colleagues have been pushing hard since 9-11 to reroute hazardous cargo away from city centers.

For better security before and during Obama's inauguration, the groups are making suggestions such as shutting down the most dangerous high-pressure chemical operations and reducing on-site chemical storage.

"We will be urging Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden to re-consider their January 17 2009 plans, and to go ahead only with Inauguration-related activities in Washington DC which are demonstrably at a safe distance from potential massive industrial chemical threats," the letter said.

Today Linda Douglass, chief spokesperson for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said they do not discuss security matters but added that they are confident in their federal security officials who are advising them - US Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security. The Secret Service, meantime, is making extensive preparations for security surrounding Jan. 20.

Still, Millar argued that unlike the rail journey, other modes of transport are safer because "the itinerary is secret, the travel route is secret, there are decoys that go along with it."

Millar said he understands the Obama team's desire "to have a president that enters his term of office with a big reassuring message," but believes that traveling by rail down the east coast corridor could pose problems.

"There's only two ways to escape: One is forward and one is backward," he said. "It's just a very inherently dangerous situation."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Like us on Facebook at
Facebook.com/BLETNational

Sign up for BLET News Flash Alerts

© 1997-2018 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

 


Decertification Helpline
(216) 694-0240

Sign up for BLET
News Flash Alerts

DAILY HEADLINES

Norfolk Southernís relocation to Atlanta to be made official today
How Atlanta landed Norfolk Southernís new HQ
Metro-North gets 2 year extension to install PTC
Postponed again: Federal requirement on passenger railroad safety programs
NS, UP enacting intermodal interline service changes
Amtrak asks for extra limits on 108-year-old swing-span bridge
LIRR has worst on-timer performance in 19 years
NJ Transit to decide on Bombardier order worth up to $3.6 billion
Congressman works to save 30th Street Stationís flipping departure board
Frustrated Metra riders air complaints about delays, overcrowding
Japan debuts next-generation bullet train with top speed of 224 mph
Railroad Retirement and unemployment insurance taxes in 2019
Get the latest labor news from the Teamsters

More Headlines