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Oil trains routes kept secret despite being close to motorists, residents

Locating oil-filled trains is still a difficult task, although each day the rolling pipelines carry more than a million barrels of crude and often sit for hours within a few feet of motorists, according to The Wall Street Journal.

If the trains were actually regulated the same way as pipelines, there would be signs and markers along the tracks, as well as instructions for nearby residents in case of spills. The railroads would also have to file spill-response plans with the federal government. But none of these steps are required, according to The Journal.

The Journal made open-records requests to the Lower 48 states and the District of Columbia. Louisiana was one of 14 states that didn’t provide any information.

Critics described the railroads’ desire for secrecy as wrongheaded.

“If you don’t share this information, how are people supposed to know what they are supposed to do when another Lac-Mégantic happens?” asked Denise Krepp, a consultant and former senior counsel to the congressional Homeland Security Committee.

She said more firefighting equipment and training was needed urgently. “We are not prepared,” she said.

The railroad industry has said revealing the trains’ routes would make it easier for terrorists to attack.

Published on:
December 4, 2014
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