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Wisconsin, other states must be told how much crude oil is shipped by rail

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - U.S. railroads have until Saturday night to tell Wisconsin and other states how much crude oil they ship through those places, and where.  

In response, three large railroads are asking states to sign agreements to keep the information secret.  

Lori Getter of Wisconsin Emergency Management said her agency would be violating the state Open Records Law if they did that. She tells the AP the information will help local emergency crews become fully prepared for crude oil spills -- and it's good to let communities know as well.  

The federal government ordered railroads to disclose their crude oil shipping activity after a series of fiery railcar mishaps -- including one in Quebec where 47 people were killed.  

Railroads that don't provide the reports could be fined $175,000 a day, and lose their privileges to ship domestic oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota. However, the administration said it would provide latitude for extenuating circumstances.  

Five other states besides Wisconsin have said they won't sign secrecy agreements sought by CSX, the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe, and Union Pacific railroads. Three others have yet to decide.

Railroads say the information is too security sensitive, and it could put those companies at a competitive disadvantage.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)