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The Texas Pyrotechnic Association PRESS CENTER
Russ Rhea, TateAustin
512-970-1254 cell 
For Immediate Release
  Contact: Julie L. Heckman
  American Pyrotechnics Association
  (301) 907-8181

Industry Group Optimistic that Recent Rail Relief will Preserve Traditional July 4th Displays

Bethesda, Maryland, June 6, 2003 - Local July 4th displays are no longer in jeopardy now that the Department of Transportation and Department of Homeland Security has cleared the path for the railroads to resume shipment of display fireworks, according to the leading fireworks industry trade association.

"Yesterday's ruling came in the nick of time to help the fireworks industry receive the necessary products to prepare for the thousands of Independence Day celebrations anticipated next month," said American Pyrotechnics Association Executive Director, Julie L. Heckman.

The nation's railroads are beginning to lift the transportation embargoes that have been in place since early February, delaying hundreds of shipments of fireworks from overseas. While relief is on its way, it will remain a challenge for the industry to complete the preparations for the Fourth of July. Nevertheless, the American Pyrotechnics Association is optimistic and hopeful that no community will be left behind this July 4th. "With the remaining product beginning to move by rail, coupled by industry's motivation to band together during times of crisis, citizens across the nation can expect to witness a traditional Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza full of pride and patriotism," said Heckman.

APA credits Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, for taking action. Sensenbrenner made an impassioned plea to the Department of Justice, Department of Transportation, and Department of Homeland Security to resolve their four-month interagency dispute over the shipping of explosives by rail. That dispute shut down commerce for the professional fireworks display industry and was creating public safety concerns, according to the APA.

"We are delighted that Rep. Sensenbrenner recognized the seriousness of the lack of rail transportation for the fireworks industry during its peak season and that he was willing to take a leadership role in motivating the three federal agencies to issue yesterday's ruling," said Heckman. "Now, we expect our industry to move forward and do what it does best - light up the skies and deliver oohs and aahs for all Americans."

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