Panel Advances Toxic Chemicals Transport Rules

From a Times Staff Writer

A measure to stiffen safeguards for the transport of hazardous chemicals on state highways cleared its first hurdle Tuesday when it was unanimously approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee.

The bill would restrict the transport of large quantities of toxic materials to routes through less-populated areas with relatively well-prepared local emergency agencies established by the California Highway Patrol after public hearings.

'No Reason to Gamble'

"There's no reason to gamble with lives," said Assemblyman Richard Katz (D-Sepulveda), the bill's sponsor. "This is designed to prevent a tragedy."

The 8-0 vote sent the measure to the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, which will decide whether to add to or subtract from the chemicals listed in the bill.

The proposal was prompted by the disclosure that highly volatile rocket fuel was routinely transported on the Ventura Freeway through heavily populated areas of Los Angeles. The fuel has since been rerouted through less populous regions.

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