State Sen. Gloria Romero
(D-Los Angeles), says she plans to draft legislation to overhaul the way dangerous
chemicals are transported within the state. The move comes after a small part
of a hazmat shipment from China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station went unreported.
On Sept. 10, at a transfer
location near Sacramento, the carrier found a 50-gallon drum of ammonium perchlorate,
a highly flammable powder used to make explosives, missing from the trucker's
load. Authorities later concluded the trucker had made two stops - one in
Compton and one in Richmond - while leaving the trailer door unlocked.
Even though the missing
barrel was noticed one day before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the trucking
firm waited nine days to notify state authorities, a spokesman from Sen. Romero's
To date, the alleged
barrel is still missing. The California Highway Patrol attributes the loss
to a counting error, but the Navy says the drum was lost in transit.
"This is a wake-up
call to the threat to public safety posed by transporting hazardous material
under existing law," said Romero. Under her proposal, videotapes of the
loading, transferring and unloading of hazmat substances would have to be
made, and trucks would also need to be locked during transit.
The legislation cannot
be introduced until January when state lawmakers reconvene. But, Romero said
if the governor should call a special session in the meantime, she will introduce
the measure then.