Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Citizens Receive Railroad Information in Washington

SERC - US DOT Emergency Order Re: Bakken Crude Oil by Rail

On June 6, 2014, an Emergency Order issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) went into effect requiring railroad carriers operating trains transporting 1,000,000 gallons or more of Bakken crude oil in a single train to provide information to the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) regarding the estimated volumes and frequencies of the train traffic implicated. Specifically, the notification must:
  • Provide reasonable estimate of the number of trains and volumes per week, through each county.
  • Identify and describe the petroleum crude oil expected to be transported in accordance with 49 CFR part 172, subpart C.
  • Provide all applicable emergency response information required by 49 CFR part 172 subpart G.
  • Identify the routes over which the materials will be transported.
  • Provide at least one point of contact at the railroad (including name, title, phone number, and address) responsible for serving as the point of contact for SERCs and relevant emergency responders related to the railroad’s transportation of Bakken crude oil.
Railroad carriers shall update notifications prior to making any material changes in the estimated volumes or frequencies of trains traveling through a county (U.S. DOT considers any increase or decrease of 25% or more in the number of implicated trains per week to be a material change). For more information, see the U.S. DOT website:!docketDetail;D=DOT-OST-2014-0067.
Below notification process currently being implemented:
  • Railroad carrier notification reports received by the SERC are being sent to those emergency management organizations with a “need to know” (the counties/cities/tribes the oil trains travel through).
  • All railroad notifications reports sent by the SERC to emergency management organizations contain the following direction: “Each receiving agency is independently responsible for compliance with all state and federal laws and regulations concerning the disclosure and protection of this information, including but not limited to compliance with the state Public Records Act, ch. 42.56 RCW, and 49 CFR 1520, as applicable.”
  • Anyone other than an emergency responder with a need to know who would like to see a copy of the railroads’ notifications will be asked to file a Public Records Request (PRR).
  • SERC expects that all agencies that receive this information will comply with applicable state and federal law as directed
Railroad Notifications Released Pursuant to Public Record Request:

This information can be found at

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