Hazardous Materials Rail Shipments: Emergency Responders Receive Support, but DoT Could Improve Oversight of Information Sharing, Report to the Ranking Member, Committee on Transportationand Infrastructure, House of Representatives [open pdf - 2MB]
"Recent rail accidents involving hazardous materials, such as crude oil, have raised questions about local emergency responders' ability to take protective actions in the aftermath of such accidents. Along with FRA [Federal Railroad Administration], PHMSA [Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration] is responsible for ensuring the safe transportation of hazardous materials by rail through issuing and enforcing railroad- and shipper -safety regulations. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to review efforts that enhance preparedness for hazardous material s rail accidents. This report examines: (1) the factors selected local emergency planners report affect preparedness; (2) the actions selected railroads have taken to support preparedness; and (3) the actions DOT [Department of Transportation] has taken to support emergency planners. GAO reviewed laws and regulations and surveyed (1) emergency planners representing 25 counties and 17 states with the highest volumes of hazardous materials rail shipments and (2) all seven Class I railroads and four smaller railroads selected because they operate in the counties where GAO surveyed local emergency planners . GAO recommends that DOT develop a process for regularly collecting information from state emergency-planning agencies about their distribution of railroad- provided hazardous materials shipping information to local emergency planning entities. DOT concurred with our recommendation."
GAO - 17 - 91
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/