10/9/15 - Michigan Chemistry Council Calls for Congressional Action to Keep Critical Rail Shipments Moving

The Michigan Chemistry Council (MCC) today urged Congressional action to keep critical rail shipments moving, and thanked U.S. Representatives Fred Upton, Candice Miller, Bill Huizenga, and Dan Benishek for sponsoring legislation to address this important issue.

“Freight rail service is essential for the safe transportation of many products vital to our everyday lives, including chlorine disinfectants that keep our water clean, fertilizers that help our farmers feed the world, and basic feedstocks for a wide range of manufactured goods,” said John Dulmes, MCC Executive Director. “Our members and their employees rely heavily upon freight rail to get their jobs done every day. Any disruption in this service will have cascading economic effects across Michigan and our nation.” 

A recent report by the American Chemistry Council found that a rail shutdown would result in a number of consequences:

  • 700,000 jobs lost nationwide
  • 0.3% increase in unemployment rate
  • $30 billion in lost economic activity
  • 600,000 heavy trucks required to transport the nearly 2 billion tons of freight currently hauled by rail

 Unless Congressional action is taken, U.S. railroads will be forced to shut down service because of a legislatively-mandated December 31st deadline for the installation of new “Positive Train Control” safety technology. Despite major investments and efforts to meet the requirements, it has been confirmed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) that railroads will not be able to meet the deadline.

Thankfully, the U.S. Senate has already passed legislation that would avert this crisis, and a new bill has also been introduced the U.S. House: H.R.3651 - Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015. “We applaud Rep. Upton, Rep. Miller, Rep. Huizenga, and Rep. Benishek for their leadership in co-sponsoring this legislation, and urge Congress to work towards a timely solution,” said Dulmes.

The Michigan Chemistry Council, established in 1967, represents Michigan’s chemical manufacturers, formulators and distributors. Chemistry is Michigan’s third-largest manufacturing sector, supporting nearly 120,000 Michigan jobs and generating $127 million in state and local taxes.