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[Federal Register: June 9, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 110)]
[Page 34470-34477]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



Research and Special Programs Administration

Federal Railroad Administration


Transportation Security Administration

[Docket No. RSPA-2003-14982, Notice No. 03-7]

Hazardous Materials: Transportation of Explosives by Rail

AGENCY: Research and Special Programs Administration and Federal 
Railroad Administration, Department of Transportation; and 
Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland 

ACTION: Notice.

SUMMARY: The Research and Special Programs Administration, the Federal 
Railroad Administration, and the Transportation Security Administration 
are publishing this document to describe the application of Federal 
laws to the transportation of explosives by rail. In particular, this 
document explains that, in light of the extensive regulation of the 
rail transportation of hazardous materials, including explosives, by 
the Department of Transportation, the protections inherent in railroad 
operations against improper use of those materials by railroad 
employees, and the security safeguards taken by the railroads, the 
transportation of explosives via rail by certain persons described 
under the Safe Explosives Act does not pose a sufficient security risk 
warranting further regulation at this time. Based on the determinations 
made by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department 
of Transportation that are detailed in this document, certain federal 
criminal provisions described below do not apply to persons while they 
are engaged in the commercial transportation of explosives by rail.

DATES: Effective Date: June 4, 2003.

ADDRESSES: You may review the public docket containing this document in 
person at the Department of Transportation Dockets Management System 
office between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays. The Dockets Management System office is on the plaza level of 
the NASSIF Building at the Department of Transportation, Room PL 401, 
400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001. Also, you

[[Page 34471]]

may review public dockets on the Internet at

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nancy Machado, Office of Chief 
Counsel, Research and Special Programs Administration, 400 Seventh 
Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001; telephone (202) 366-4440; 
facsimile (202) 366-7041; e-mail David 
Kasminoff, Office of Chief Counsel, Federal Railroad Administration, 
1120 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC, 20590-0001; telephone: (202) 
493-6043; Christine Beyer, Office of Chief 
Counsel, Transportation Security Administration, 400 Seventh Street, 
SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001; telephone (571) 227-2657; e-mail

[ ...]

 As part of the application process, the Class I railroads conduct 
background checks on all new hires, although this does not include a 
fingerprint-based CHRC. The Class I railroads ask applicants to 
disclose any past criminal history. In addition, the major railroads 
complete a public records search for statewide criminal and outstanding 
debt information. Using records linked to the applicant's social 
security number, the major railroads also check the applicant's 
employment, credit, and address history. This is a significant 
evaluation, because it typically confirms a candidate's identity. 
Experienced investigators place great weight on these records to catch 
individuals who have adopted false identification, who often move 
beneath the criminal history radar screen. A number of terrorists 
involved in previous terrorist attacks would have successfully 
completed a fingerprint-based CHRC, but may have raised concerns as a 
result of the social security check.
    The employment application also requires information concerning 
previous military service and citizenship status. If a candidate has 
served in the armed forces, the railroad requests a copy of the 
individual's discharge papers. An individual with a dishonorable 
discharge is not disqualified automatically, but the dishonorable 
discharge may become grounds for disqualification. The railroad 
considers the totality of the circumstances, such as the facts that 
gave rise to the discharge, any rehabilitation that is evident, and the 
results of the other background checks. Similarly, the railroads do not 
prohibit hiring aliens, but will not hire an alien unless the proper 
immigration forms and approvals have been obtained. Any person who has 
renounced his or her U.S. citizenship would be required to state that 
he/she is not a U.S. citizen on the application. In a general survey of 
the Class I railroads, the percentage of non-Canadian aliens working in 
the railroad industry is extremely small. Citizens of Canada, who 
typically work

[[Page 34476]]
for the Canadian railroads, are discussed in greater detail below.

 [ ... ]
 Because Canadian railroads transport hazardous materials into the 
United States, locomotive engineers working for these railroads are 
often citizens of Canada rather than the United States. TSA recently 
published a rule that requires Canadian train crews entering this 
country to be vetted by Transport Canada, the agency in the Canadian 
government that oversees transportation. (68 FR 6083; Feb. 6, 2003.) A 
Canadian citizen entering the U.S. via rail with explosives shipments 
on board is not granted access unless Transport Canada certifies that 
the individual has completed a background investigation. TSA is in the 
process of amending this rule to extend its application to Canadians 
who transport explosives within the United States as well. TSA has met 
with representatives of Canada on several occasions to discuss these 
procedures, and will conduct similar discussions with Mexico

 [ ... ]

 [ End ]