Rail company requests secrecy on oil trains from state

Capital New York | June 6, 2014 | Column by Scott Waldman

ALBANY—CSX has asked the state not to disclose to the public the routes of oil trains now moving through the state even though an emergency federal order requires them to do so.

Railroad companies across the country are under an emergency federal order to inform local responders where they are transporting crude oil. CSX and other railroad companies are now asking states not to reveal oil train volumes and routing information to the general public.

Washington state officials have refused a nondisclosure request from rail companies andOregon officials have not decided whether or not they will comply.

New York is “reviewing” the request for secrecy, said Peter Cutler, deputy commissioner of public affairs for the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

“As part of New York State’s efforts to safeguard our communities from accidents involving the transport of crude oil, the state has been working with railroad companies to provide secured routing information to the appropriate state public safety officials,” he said in a statement.

A CSX spokesman did not immediately respond to request for comment.

CSX is not the only company request nondisclosure. BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific have made similar requests in other states.

The order applies to trains carrying more than 1 million gallons of volatile North Dakota oil in a single train. Albany has become one of the nation's primary oil hubs, and handles about 16 percent of North Dakota's daily output. The average train carrying crude from North Dakota's Bakken region carries more than three million gallons.

Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered a state safety report on the trains and has increased the funding for inspectors. Oil transportation companies have provided firefighting foam to emergency responders in region where the trains are offloaded, but many communities along the track do not have enough capability to fight a train explosion. A series of high-profile explosions in North Dakota, Virginia and Quebec—in which 47 people were killed—have drawn considerable attention to the trains.


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@PAUSEnergy tweeted this page. 2014-06-07 12:15:22 -0400
PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE is a grassroots group of individuals who have come together to promote safe, sustainable energy and fight for environmental justice. We engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry’s assault on the people of Albany and our environment.