Appeals court overturns DC hazmat ban

| 5/4/2005

A federal appeals court has prohibited enforcement of the District of Columbia’s ban on hazardous materials shipments within two miles of the U.S. Capitol Building.

The railway firm CSX – which runs hazmat freight on tracks only blocks from the Capitol – issued a statement shortly after the May 3 verdict, saying the ruling “provides necessary and welcome clarity in the legal dispute between federal and local authorities.”

The May 3 ruling follows a temporary ruling by the same court April 20 that put a stop to the District’s ban on the shipments, which was passed by the City Council and signed into law by Mayor Anthony A. Williams Feb. 15. The District DOT’s rules were scheduled to go into effect the same day as the temporary ruling.

The court ruling came in response to an appeal filed by CSX Railroad Monday, April 18, CSX officials said in a statement. While the DC ordinance mentions all hazmat shipments, the controversy has centered on rail shipments moving through CSX’s network.