Senator Wolk wants more timely disclosure of crude-by-rail information


June 25, 2014, Contact: Melissa Jones

Senator responds to delayed release of report on crude-by-rail shipment

Wolk urges timely disclosure to state, communities to aid planning and response

SACRAMENTO—State Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) pressed for timely disclosure of crude oil shipments by railroad shipping companies, following today’s release by the State Office of Emergency Services of a report disclosing a shipment of 1 million gallons or more crude oil through Northern California by BNSF Railway, the largest crude-by-rail transporter, earlier this month.

BNSF’s June 13th disclosure of an earlier shipment followed an order last month by the U.S. Department of Transportation that railroads must begin sharing information about large shipments of crude oil with state and local officials. The federal order denied longstanding claims by railroads that this information should remain confidential, claiming the information includes “proprietary and confidential trade” secrets and poses security concerns.

“While I applaud the Office of Emergency Services’ release of BNSF Railway’s after-the-fact disclosure of a crude-by-rail shipment through nine Northern California counties earlier this month, what the public wants and what local responders need is information regarding future shipments of crude oil by rail, in order to better prepare any necessary response in the event of any potential accident or mishap with this hazardous cargo,” said Wolk. “I call on the federal and state government to require railroads to provide advance notice regarding hazardous material shipments through our communities.”

To aid planning and response by local governments to increasing shipments of these dangerous materials, Senator Wolk is authoring legislation (SB 506) with Senator Jerry Hill to provide funding to help communities like Benicia provide adequate emergency response to accidents and spills involving rail transports of crude oil and other hazardous materials.