Oklahoma Officials May Reconsider Keeping Oil Train Info Secret

  • Joe Wertz

Seebe / Flickr

In the wake of deadly derailments, fiery explosions and dangerous spills, the federal government in May ordered railroads to share with state authorities more information about some crude oil shipments.

Some of those trains traverse Oklahoma en route from oilfields in states like North Dakota to refineries along the Gulf Coast of Texas. Citing “terrorism” concerns, Oklahoma’s Department of Environmental Quality has worked to keep those oil and train shipment details secret.

But as The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports, the agency might reverse course and release reports the Federal Railroad Administration says don’t “contain security-sensitive information”:

Skylar McElhaney, DEQ spokeswoman, said the Oklahoma Hazardous Emergency Response Commission initially acted under guidance from the federal Transportation Department on how to treat the reports about oil shipments by rail from the Bakken in North Dakota.

“Now that DOT and the Federal Railroad Administration have both affirmed that details about rail shipments of Bakken oil are not security sensitive, DEQ’s legal staff is looking into the validity of the non-disclosure agreements,” McElhaney said in an email.