U.S. transportation officials say details about volatile oil train shipments are not sensitive security information as railroads seek to keep the material from the public following a string of fiery accidents.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered railroads to give state emergency officials specifics on oil-train routes and shipment volumes to prepare for accidents.
Railroads have convinced some states to sign agreements restricting the information's release for business and security reasons.
Federal Railroad Administration Associate Administrator Kevin Thompson said Wednesday that the agency has determined the information is not sensitive information that should be withheld from the public to protect security.
Montana officials say they will publicly release the oil-train information next week. Washington state also plans to release the information under state open records laws barring a legal challenge.
An oil-train derailment and explosion in Quebec last July killed 47 people.
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) –June 18, 2014
Railroads Seek To Limit Public Info On Oil Trains
Two railroad companies don't want the public to know the details of oil shipments through the state of Washington. But a spokesman with the state Emergency Response Commission says restricting that information isn't consistent with the state's public record law.
So the state has not signed the confidentiality agreements the railroad companies are seeking. In the wake of several oil train accidents, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued an emergency order requiring railroads by Friday to notify state officials about the volume, frequency and county-by-county routes of trains carrying large Bakken crude oil shipments. BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad last Friday asked the state to limit the "security sensitive" information to emergency planning and response groups. The state made plans last month to post that data online.
SEATTLE (AP) – June 5, 2014