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Judge wants DC terror plans public

WASHINGTON, March 24 (UPI) -- A federal court wants the Bush administration to explain what security measures are in place to prevent terrorists turning hazmat trains into chemical weapons.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, hearing a motion to block a Washington, D.C., City Council ban on the transport of toxic chemicals through the capital, said he was "astounded" the city and its residents were being kept in the dark, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

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"How does anyone give the City Council and the citizens any assurance that the federal government is doing anything about the problem?" Sullivan was quoted by the paper as asking.

The City Council's law, scheduled to take effect April 11, is being challenged by rail operator CSX Transportation and the U.S. Justice Department. They argue it violates constitutional protections for interstate commerce and will open the floodgates to a patchwork of prohibitions by other cities, which could eventually make transporting such chemicals by train impossible.

Sullivan asked the federal government to disclose what measures have been taken to prevent a terrorist attack on rail shipments, and promised a ruling by April 8.

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