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NJ considering crude oil disclosure

For more than a month now, railroads have been required to notify a state’s emergency officials when massive amounts of a certain crude oil would be transported within their borders. However, it’s up to each state whether they share that information with the public, and New Jersey remains undecided.

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oil barrels
Andrey Korobov, ThinkStock

Following a series of fiery train derailments and spills over the past year, including a deadly incident in Quebec last July, an executive order from the U.S. Department of Transportation targeted rail shipments that include more than 1 million gallons of Bakken crude oil, which is considered more dangerous to ship than other varieties.

Railroad companies have been complying with officials in New Jersey, according to the state Attorney General’s Office. However, a number of companies have argued against public disclosure of the details because of concerns with security and client confidentiality.

The public has the right to know the details, though, according to U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey.

“I’d like the state to disclose the routes, the schedules.  I think, as much as possible, that information should be made available to the public,” Pallone said.

Another major concern, according to Pallone, is the age and condition of the rail cars transporting the crude.

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