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Press Release

Iowa Railroad Safety Symposium

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

ANKENY, IOWA –Federal, state and local public safety agencies are meeting today at the Des Moines Area Community College-Ankeny Campus for an all-day Railroad Safety Symposium. The program is providing a national overview of rail transportation issues as well as railroad safety issues specific to Iowa. The first of its kind conference is hosted by Kevin W. Techau, U.S Attorney for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa.

Federal and State agencies participating as presenters include United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management, Iowa DOT Office of Rail Transportation, and the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). The purpose of the Symposium is to bring together members of agencies that work in all aspects of public safety at the federal, state and local level, to better understand and be better prepared to address safety challenges connected to railroad, and hazardous materials railroad transportation.  The primary audience attending the meeting is comprised of Iowa law enforcement, Iowa fire fighters and Iowa county emergency management personnel.

Primary topics presented at the symposium include:

  • Making clear what agency is responsible for monitoring and regulating railroad traffic in the United States and Iowa. Discussing Federal Railroad Administration’s and other federal/state agency responsibilities specific to railroads and railroad traffic.
  • Describing how the Federal Railroad Administration & PHMSA conducts railroad inspections.
  • Presenting an overview of prevention initiatives related to railroad derailments, train accidents, rail trespass, and sabotage for rail transportation.
  • Detailing emergency preparation and incident management for rail transportation and to include response and recovery and environmental clean-up related to rail incidents.
  • Discussing issues around rail trespass, railroad crossing safety, quiet zones and community livability issues.

United States Attorney Kevin W. Techau stated, “Safe and efficient rail transportation is vital to the day-to-day lives of all Iowans. The purpose of the Iowa Railroad Safety Symposium is to bring together federal, state and local level public safety officials to facilitate the best preparation possible for all of the safety challenges connected to railroad transportation and specifically rail hazardous materials transportation.”

“At the Federal Railroad Administration, safety is our number one priority,” said FRA Regional Administrator Steve Fender. “The 2015 Iowa Rail Safety Symposium offers us a great opportunity to underscore FRA's safety message, and we look forward to sharing information about our organization and developing lasting relationships with safety professionals in the State of Iowa.”

Iowa partners also weigh in on the importance and timeliness of the symposium.  “With the shipment of hazardous cargo on the rise, it is more important than ever to work closely with all of our stakeholders,” said Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Mark Schouten. “Events such as this symposium help us to be better prepared to respond to protect life, safety, property and the environment, and to more quickly recover from any and all hazardous materials incidents.”

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Updated August 26, 2015

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