Cedar Rapids Gazette, October 9, 1974, Page 7

Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette October 9, 1974

Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - October 9, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa t Safety step-up urged Risky cargoes raise The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Wed., Ort. ft, 1971 JA concern By John E. Hamer WASHINGTON - Transportation of hazardous cargoes bv air, sea, rail, road and waterway is a major and grow mg problem in the t oited States The rising frequency of mishaps involving dangerous materials has caused wide-spread public concern about the potential for a catastrophic accident “Hazardous materials shipments present an increasing danger to public safety,’ the General Accounting Office said last year in a special report to congress “Each year, hundreds of new materials are developed, thousands of shipments are made daily, and annual volume is expected to reach I 5 billion tons bv 198(1 “ Actually, no one knows exactly how much hazardous cargo is being shipped today William .I Burns, director of the transportation department’s Office of Hazardous Materials, estimates that the figure may already be two billion tons a year Airline passengers have been astonished and angered to learn that radioactive materials are routinely carried iii th*' baggage compartments of I s passenger flights Last April a radioactive industrial isotope shipment leaked during a flight from Washington, I). ( . to Baton Hodge, La . exposing more than .'•Ml airline passengers, crew members and ground handlers to excess radiation The airlines also carry other hazardous materials sinh a^ chemicals and acids, compressed gases, explosives or ammunition, disease viruses, poisons and corrosive or flammable liquids — none of which is allowed to be carried on passenger trains or buses. The Air Line Pilots Assn , iii one survey, found that 90 percent of all I S passenger flights carry hazardous materials The Federal Aviation Administration contends that the correct figure is only 5 5 percent, but the FAA’s survey methods have been widely criticized. Rep .lack Brooks (D-Texas). chairman of the house subcommittee on government activities, has said that “FAA’s Opinion Page Views Ideas Insights* Judgments Comments safety record can largely tx- attributed to luck and it is just a matter of time before that luck is going to run out and a disaster involving hazardous materials aboard a passenger-carrying aircraft will injure or kill many people." Railroads are also carrying an increasing amount of dangerous cargo, yet rail accidents reached a 18-year high last year. due largely to deteriorating tracks and equipment The accident rate is running even higher this year. according to a recent report from the house interstate and foreign commerce committee It said that the Federal Railroad Administration had only 12 inspectors for over 3(10.000 miles of track “Hazardous materials are passing hourly over poor tracks in the most heavily populated region of the country, literally exposing millions of people to potential danger without their even knowing the danger exists.’’ the report said About one of every IO trucks on the highway today is carrying explosive, flammable or poisonous cargo, and according to the transportation department. there art* 30,(MMI trucking accidents every year In 1972. the Federal Highway Administration received more than 3.00(1 reports of incidents involving hazardous cargoes, which that year killed 73 people, injured 743 and caused $4 9 million worth of property damage About 25 percent of all hazardous materials shipped in tin' Fluted States go by water, with petroleum making up the bulk of these shipments. There are more than 20.000 barges plying the nation’s in land and coastal waterways, and barge traffic is expected to increase bv nearly 30 percent iii this decade Barge accidents involving hazardous materials have more than doubled iii recent years. yet barging is considered arjiong the sal est means of transporting hazardous cargoes. 'I’he burgeoning shipments of oil and liquefied natural gas aboard tankers and supertankers have spurred new anxiety about sjnlls or explosions at sea or in port The newest supertankers are the largest sell -propelled vessels ever built, and when fully loaded they have aluta rd as much potential thermal energy as a two-megaton hydrogen bomb Vet these ships are most dangerous when empty as hydrocarbon vapors fill their holds and can be touched off by the slightest spark Charges are mounting that federal transportation safety regulations either are not being enforced or are not strict enough to ensure public safety The General Accounting Office told congress the department of transportation needed to improve in inspection and enforcement program, and to gather more basic data on hazardous cargo shipments The FAA has been severely criticized by the Air Line Pilots Assn and Raljih Nuder s Aviation Consumer Action Project for lax enforcement and weak regulations The pilots have called for a ban on hazardous cargoes aboard pas si nger flights, with the major exception of radiopharmaceuticals intended for medical use Sonic pilots have taken matter - into their own hands bv delaying flights until all hazardous cargoes are removed The Nader group is urging that airline pas sengers demand to know if any hazardous cargo is on board, and refuse to fly or change flights if there is While there seems to be no way to guarantee that accidents involving hazardous cargoes will not happen, there is much that can be- done to decrease the* chances that they will happen. But as dangerous mate rials continue to proliferate and shipments of hazardous cargoes multiply, technology and safety may both Im' increasingly hard pressed editorial Research ReoorK Testimony precedent clouded Ford walking unmarked path? By Ted Vaden WASHINGTON — Even though the White House* denies it. President Ford s decision to appear before a house subc ommittee inquiring into his pardon of Richard Nixon may indeed set a new precedent It may be the first time in history a President has formally testified before a congressional committee White House spokesmen have been careful to point nut that Ford’s appearance before the house* judiciary subcommittee on criminal justice, scheduled for Oct IO, will be* voluntary Thus. they say, Ford will not Im* eroding executive powers by subjecting himself to future demands that he testify on other matters. But White House* officials are on less substantial ground when they cite two other times they say Presidents have appeared before congressional committees. One such appearance, involving George Washington, probably never happened The other, by Abraham Lincoln. N not well documented and might not have taken plat e*, either The White House claimed that George Washington appeared in 1792 before a special house committee investigating an "ill-fated military expedition” led against a small body of Indians by Maj Gen Arthur st ( lair At the request of congress, Washington “addressed the* matter.’’ presumably before a committee, according to the White House* The second precedent, a White House s|M>kc*sman maintained, came in 1*82 when Lincoln went before the* house judiciary committee* to explain the leak of his state of the Fmon message to the New York Herald Rumor had linked tin disclosure to Lincoln s wife and led to charges that she sympathized with the confederate cause The White House spokesman said both precedents wore uncovered in research by the Library’ of Congress However. Harold Relyea. a specialist on executive privilege at the Library s congressional research service questioned the validity of these* appearances as precedents ( King a study bv Stephen Horn. “The Cabinet and Congress Relyea said Washington not only never np|M*ured before the* house or a house committee, Gut that he never was asked to appear The house* bael requested only that Washington turn over some d*w aments related to the St Clair expedition The* first President did so after determining their release “would not injure the* public good The Library analyst knew of no other evidence that could support the White House's citation of the* incident as a precedent “Quite the contrary,” he said. "it's often cited as the first flirta- LINCOLN washington tion with the doctrine of executive privilege Washington did appear before the full senate* — not a committee* — in 1789 to se*e*k “advice and consent em his tre*aty negotiations with the Crook Indians When the senate* balked at his proposals, Washington stormed out in a "violent fret” and never again consulted with the* senate* before ratification, thus seating another precedent There is *tpinger evidence for the Lincoln precedent cited. Gut Relyea said it was largely unsubstantiated Historians have* found no official records of the nutting. The New York Herald and at le*ast four either papers reported in February. 1882, that Lincoln appeared before the house judiciary committee* in an effort to prevent tin* “disgrace” threatened by clamor ove*r the le*ak But Relyea note*el thai an account of the incident by Bon Berley Poore*, a highly regardeel diarist of the period, indicated that the apparance was more* in the nature of an informal meeting with house members The ne* w spa per reports by contrast were sketchy. Relyea said. and thus not reliable as historical |>rceedent Other Way with words Punned By Theodore M. Bernstein IF A PERSON was called a sooth slayer (and to forestall a likely typographical error that word will be he*re re|M*ated soothslayer (, would you sav lie is a liar’ That’s what Franklin W Powe rs, a punster of Gle nside. Pa wants lo know The answe*r is, surely The archaic word sooth means truth or fact and one who kills the* truth obviously is a liar Now if Mr Powers will go bat k to play mg on his lyre instead of playing on his liar. we can get on to more impeutant business • Comsat Several weeks ago a columnist wrote. “Mr Nixons various counsels have stressed a strut rather than a broad reading of the Constitution," and that caused Owen Biddie, an attorney, of Bryn Mawr. Pa , to post* the question whether counsels is good F.ng- sourees had Lincoln appearing before a joint committee on the conduct of the war to explain his war policy, but those accounts also are subject to question The committee was a panel formed in I HH I by anti-Lincoln Radical Republicans to press the administration for military action and emancipation of the slaves According to newspaper accounts at the time, Lincoln met with the largely antagonistic group at least five times in 1881 and 1882. but each time with his full cabinet and at least once at the White House. Relyea. noting that there were no committee records of such a meeting, suggested that they too were informal and may not have occurred on Capitol Hill Modern Presidents regularly have appeared before congress to deliver Stale of the Enion messages The difference between those and Fords scheduled apparance is that the President will be subjected to questions jmsed bv subcommittee members I would hope we will not be intimidated iii performing our job” of questioning Ford, said Rep Elizabeth Holtz-man (DNY J. a member of the panel who posed some of tin* sharpest questions to witnesses when the judiciary committee held hearings on the Nixon impeachment “I ve taken an oath of office, and J feel my job is with all due respect and courtesy toward the President, to try to obtain answers to our questions.” Rep Holtzman told Congressional Quarterly “We’ve had experience with witnesses before ” 'SS. vXvXvXvX-l-X-Xv.vX bsh One dictionary — the Vmeriean Heritage — says it is, others indicate that both the singular noun and the [dural are counsel The big Oxford English dictionary does cite one quotation using the plural counsels By Thomas Jefferson of all people and dated 1789. it reads as follows “Thev have charged    one    of their ablest counsels with the preparation of a memoir to establish this Mr Biddie says that sounds awkward and he i> right The awkwardness derives from the extreme ran'.* of the word Both the collidine * quoted above and Mr Jefferson would have lw‘en well advised to use lawyers, attorneys or legal advisers rather than counsels On the other hand, a recent caption on a picture of a hearing of the house judiciary committee referred to half a dozen men representing different principals in this way At the table in the foreground are the counsels Neither counsel nor one of the synonyms just mentioned would do the job in this un usual instance Hi'* yolk Times Server JCPenney 20% off this solid coatand fancy slacks. 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  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Franklin W Powe
  • George Washington
  • Harold Relyea
  • Owen Biddie
  • Richard Nixon
  • Stephen Horn
  • Thomas Jefferson

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Publication: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Issue Date: October 9, 1974

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