Last summer I gave the Homeland Security Agency a good rating for immediately finding the men who stole tons of explosives from a police storage site.
Now I have to give Homeland Security a negative rating.
Yesterday we had a railway tanker car with several holes eaten in the outside by the acid contents. The acid began spilling out. This was in the heart of Salt Lake City and 6,000 people had to be evacuated. (Photo: woman and dog being evacuated.)
The shock to me was that the chemical or chemicals inside the tanker were not flagged on the outside and the investigators, after many hours, could not find the shipper who knew the contents. Insanity.
That tanker could have had phosphate inside it, parked next to an oil tanker and we could have an explosion ten times anything the U.S. has experienced before … in the middle of a large city.
No one to blame but Homeland Security.
By the way, another incredible story, that no one will believe. I am slightly responsible for the Toxic Safety numbers on truck/railroad trailers and tankers. In the late 1970s I was dating a San Francisco Supervisor. I got upset with the tanker trucks on the freeways cruising through San Francisco with no way of telling the contents. Traveling nuclear fuel was an issue at the time. I brought my girl friend a draft of legislation requiring all trucks coming into San Francisco to have a contents sign on the outside. My legislation had attached to it a Xerox page of suggested toxic code numbers from the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.
The Supervisor introduced the bill and a week later was contacted by the Department of Transportation. DOT told my girl-friend-supervisor that DOT was drafting regulations on the matter and the Feds had jurisdiction (we knew that). About six months later DOT announced the new toxic contents system that is still in use … except for the tanker in Salt Lake Citys.