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01.11.2013
SEATTLE (AP) -- Tacoma Rail says it moves about three unit trains of Bakken crude oil in Pierce County each week.
The railroad disclosed the information to Washington state earlier this month, and officials released it to The Associated Press under the state public records law.
Federal transportation officials have ordered railroads to give state officials details on oil-train routes and volumes so emergency responders can better prepare for accidents.
Tacoma Rail, a shortline railroad owned by the city of Tacoma, disclosed that the oil trains move only in Pierce County. SEATTLE (AP) — Tacoma Rail says it moves about three unit trains of Bakken crude oil in Pierce County each week. BNSF Railway says it will not go to court to block Washington from releasing oil train notification information under the state’s public records law. Records of oil-train routes, quantities of crude and numbers of trains from BNSF, and Portland and Western Railroad are expected to be publicly released today, according to Chris Barnes, public records officer for the Washington Military Department. After providing the notifications to various states, BNSF and Union Pacific railroads initially sought nondisclosure agreements ensuring the information would not become widely public and would only be shared with state officials and emergency responders.


The Washington Military Department received more than 100 requests for the information, department spokeswoman Karina Shagren said.
If BNSF indeed did not file an injunction before the close of business Monday, the state will release the information as public record. In Oregon, the State Emergency Response Commission has yet to decide whether it will agree to the railroad’s request for nondisclosure.
BNSF Trains carry Bakken crude through Washington and into Portland, where they transfer to a shortline headed to a terminal in Clatskanie, Ore. Railroads have convinced some states to sign agreements restricting the information's release. Railroads have convinced some states to sign agreements restricting the information’s release.
Officials in Washington at one point had planned to post the information online, but backtracked after being told by the federal transportation department to treat the information as sensitive. The majority of them came through a campaign by the advocacy group Vancouver Action Network, which has also led campaigns to count trains.


The agency is seeking guidance from the state attorney general’s office and has not yet provided a timeline for its decision. They contain information about the route, quantity and anticipated weekly traffic of shipments of more than 1 million gallons of crude oil from the Bakken shale fields spanning parts of North Dakota, Montana and Canada. The state then decided to require a public records request, after which it would notify railroads and grant them 10 days during which they could seek an injunction to block the release.
Union Pacific informed Washington it does not move enough Bakken crude to meet the reporting threshold. The short-line Tacoma Rail carries some Bakken crude between BNSF lines and the Port of Tacoma.




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