Feds prod railroads to cough up more info on oil trains
James Eli Shiffer
May 8, 2014 — 9:43am
Since I wrote about the issue in my first column Sunday, I was intrigued to see the federal government's emergency order Wednesday that will force railroads to give state emergency managers detailed information about where and when they ship oil trains. The fiery derailments in Quebec, North Dakota, Virginia and elsewhere have gotten the attention of politicians, and they are zeroing in on the disclosure question.
Minnesota Rep. Frank Hornstein told my colleague David Shaffer that “We don’t know what is going through our communities, not even the emergency responders know." Hornstein thinks the railroads should tell the public about as well, just like pipeline operators and hazardous waste generators already do, but the federal order does not go that far. Still, I'm glad to see what Hornstein called the "loophole" of community right-to-know getting some real attention.
It's lights, camera, action on Thursday for the Woody Harrelson movie "Wilson," on location at the state prison in Stillwater. But the Department of Corrections' ban on cameras means the film crew won't be allowed inside.
When a train derailed alongside the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota on Jan. 26, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz said it took 12 hours to find out the exact contents of six tanker cars that fell into the water.