The American Chemistry Council and several related trade groups filed a federal lawsuit against Canadian Pacific over the rail carrier's recent decision to require rail cars hauling certain chemicals to comply with new safety standards beginning this week, according to a report from KSTP.com in Minneapolis.
KSTP reports that Tom Schick, the ACC's senior director of regulatory and technical affairs, said Canadian Pacific's decision "blindsides the chemical industry and has ramifications for America's public health, agriculture, pharmaceutical, construction, defense, and manufacturing sectors."
In a statement, the chemical industry group calls the railroad's decision "abitrary, unilateral and illegal" and says the chemicals involved are "essential to the economy and to national health" and that transporting them by rail is "extremely safe."
The chemical groups contend that all of their rail cars currently in use meet existing federal Transportation Department safety requirements.
Canadian Pacific released a statement saying it opposes the ACC's motion based on its "continual concern over safety in our communities."
The rail carrier said it "believes there is a shared responsibility to haul these commodities throughout North America in the safest possible manner" and therefore it is "asking shippers of these toxic chemicals to take steps to further protect our employees and the public."
The dispute arose in the wake of the derailment and explosion of an oil train that killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, last July.