As Ron Johnson Plays Politics With Public Safety, Ron Kind Leads on Emergency Services Preparedness

Jul 31, 2014

In the wake of a serious train accident and fuel spill in southeastern Wisconsin, Rep. Ron Kind yesterday introduced legislation to address rail safety — even as Ron Johnson tried to kill the legislation with a controversial amendment on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Kind’s Railroad Emergency Services Preparedness, Operational Needs, and Safety Evaluation (RESPONSE) Act today would help local first responders in the event of a train derailment or fuel spill by establishing a national advisory panel that would bring together agencies, technical experts, emergency responders and the private sector to review training, resources, best practices, and unmet needs related to emergency responders to railroad incidents.

Last month, Slinger, Wisconsin was the site of a train accident when a Canadian National Railway Co. train struck another freight train causing the trains to derail, injuring two people, and spilling thousands of gallons of fuel. Approximately 100 people were evacuated from surrounding homes.

Meanwhile, Ron Johnson tried to kill the Senate companion bill with an amendment that Politico referred to as a “political poison pill.” Johnson’s amendment would inject the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to force a vote on it. 

“Ron Johnson’s got more stunts than Circus World,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Friday. “Now that his ridiculous lawsuit to kick his own staff off their healthcare has rightfully been tossed out of the courts for the frivolous waste of taxpayer time and money it was, he’s moved on to playing politics on public safety. It is the height of irresponsibility to kill a bipartisan bill to address rail safety with political games. Ron Johnson should be ashamed of himself.”