A national railroad strike could derail critical deliveries of chlorine to wastewater treatment plants and coal to utility plants, among other potentially crippling disruptions, prompting senior White House aides on Tuesday to review contingency options for protecting the nation’s drinking water and energy supply.
White House aides are looking at how to ensure essential products carried by rail — such as food, energy and key health products — could still reach their destinations, even in the event of a strike. Senior officials have looked at how highways, ports and waterways can be used to offset any damage caused, while also talking to top officials in the shipping, freight and logistics industries.
Administration officials have also been in regular contact with Greg Abel, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, while trying to find a solution. Berkshire Hathaway owns BNSF, one of the largest freight railroad networks in North America.
Negotiations between the carriers and unions are ongoing, and a deal could emerge at any point.