Transportation

Many States Hide Rail Hazmat Threats from Public at Companies' Behest

It's not like you can't figure these things out. Trains full of explosive crude oil, for example, may be obvious as a string of 100-odd identical black tankers rolls through populated areas. The number on the DOT-required diamond-shaped flammability placard on each car probably has the number 1257 on it. But it's not just crude oil that's an issue.

"Influence Game: Shaping Railroad Safety Rules"

"WASHINGTON — A string of fiery train derailments across the country has triggered a high-stakes but behind-the-scenes campaign to shape how the government responds to calls for tighter safety rules. Billions of dollars are riding on how these rules are written, and lobbyists from the railroads, tank car manufacturers and the oil, ethanol and chemical industries have met 13 times since March with officials at the White House and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration."

Source: AP, 07/14/2014

Will Safety Trump Secrecy in Oil-by-Rail?

Should firefighters and residents know whether trains loaded with explosive oil are routed through the heart of residential districts? Many railroads say no, claiming it is a security issue. But on June 18, 2014, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) dismissed that claim, saying that oil train routing was not sensitive security information. Yet the railroads are fighting back.

"Lung Illnesses More Likely Near Logan Airport"

"Children who live in neighborhoods bordering Logan International Airport are as much as four times more likely to wheeze, experience shortness of breath, and exhibit other signs of undiagnosed asthma compared with children who live farther away, according to a long-awaited state report released Wednesday night."

Source: Boston Globe, 05/29/2014

You Can Hide Oil Trains from the Public, But Not from Terrorists

As 100-car trains of explosive crude oil snake through U.S. cities and river gorges, the railroad industry continues to tell the public they are being kept secret from terrorists. But now a series of articles by Rob Davis for the The (Portland) Oregonian seems to have caught the railroads and the feds in their own contradictions.

Journos Fight Feds To Keep Drones As News Tool

More than a dozen news media organizations filed a brief May 6, 2014, arguing that the Federal Aviation Administration is violating the First Amendment with its limits on drones. The media groups were intervening in the appeal of a judge's overturning of a $10,000 Federal Aviation Administration fine imposed on Raphael Pirker, a videographer who shot a promotional video of the University of Virginia campus.

Washington State Oil Trains Run Into Heavy Opposition

"As Washington environmental regulators start wrestling with the safety of new and larger fuel terminals along the Pacific Coast, some residents in southwest Washington communities are getting restless — with worries about the safety of crude oil shipped by rail to refineries and shipping docks."

Source: Olympian, 05/06/2014

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