U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said on Tuesday that she is co-sponsoring a bill to improve training and support for first-response personnel.
She joins Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) in sponsoring the Railroad Emergency Serviced Preparedness, Operational Needs and Safety Evaluation (RESPONSE) Act. Baldwin said the amount of hazardous materials being transported via the railway system has been increasing significantly. With the recent derailment of a locomotive carrying crude oil, it is important that first-response teams have the tools and skills necessary to keep themselves, their towns and people safe, she said.
“The RESPONSE Act will help localities get the resources they need to be prepared and keep their towns safe," Baldwin said. "I will keep working with local, state, and federal officials to continue to improve rail safety in Wisconsin and across the country.”
The bill would create a Federal Emergency Management Agency council made up of public- and private-sector representatives, including emergency-response personnel, energy experts and federal agencies. This council would review and propose changes and recommendations to Congress on how to address the needs of emergency-response personnel.
U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) has introduced a similar bill in the House.