16 May 2003
Derailing the Fourth of July
Nearly two dozen containers of imported fireworks for pyrotechnic displays are sitting at West Coast ports for lack of inland transportation; the Washington Times reports that new security rules for hauling explosives, enacted this past February, have made the nation's railroads unwilling to mess with the stuff without some assurances from DOT that they won't be held liable if, for instance, they miss one background check somewhere along the way.
Photon Courier (16 May) points out that eventually, these containers will likely be moved by truck, which will enhance neither the national economy nor national security:
[W]hen a container of explosives goes by road rather than by rail, what are the consequences? It will cost significantly more (as much as $8,000 per container more, in some cases), and will consume more fuel. And it will involve more security risks. It seems far more likely that a shipment of explosives will be hijacked from a truck than from the tightly-disciplined environment of a railroad.
We'll still be able to buy sparklers and bottle rockets, I presume, but the big displays on the Glorious Fourth could be jeopardized.