Friday, December 04, 2015

Maine to no longer publicly disclose details about rail shipments of crude oil through the state

Officials in Maine announced this week that they will no longer publicly disclose details about shipments of crude oil by rail through the state, Dave Sherwood reports for Reuters. More oil was spilled on U.S. railways in 2013 than in the previous 37 years combined, and the 2013 derailment in Quebec that resulted in 47 deaths was on route from North Dakota to Maine. (Associated Press photo: The 2013 train derailment in Quebec that was on its way to Maine)

"A U.S. Department of Transportation Executive Order in 2014 required railroads to inform emergency responders about large cargoes of Bakken oil passing through their states," Sherwood writes. "But many railroad companies, citing security concerns along their tracks, have lobbied to keep that information from the public."

On Wednesday Maine's Department of Environmental Protection "declined a reporter's request for monthly volumes of crude oil shipped by rail, citing a June law that prohibits emergency responders from disclosing certain details about rail shipments of hazardous materials through the state," Sherwood writes. Bob Klotz, a spokesman for 350 Maine, an activist group that has protested oil-by-rail cargoes in the state, told Sherwood, "When people are aware of what's coming through their community, they pay attention. To take that information away is very concerning." (Read more)

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