Your July 8 editorial “Secrecy by Rail: PEMA Says the Public Has No Right to Oil Train Info” sacrifices factual accuracy in favor of uninformed rhetoric. When it comes to rail shipments, public safety is the first and only consideration of Gov. Tom Corbett and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. PEMA has shared Bakken crude rail transport information it has received with local emergency management personnel in all affected areas. These responders further disseminate the information to all planners and first responders who have a need to know for emergency response purposes.
PEMA cannot simply disseminate information designated as confidential beyond emergency responders. This does not constitute “keeping secrets for railroads.” The state’s Right-to-Know Law specifically protects confidential and proprietary information to encourage private entities to disclose the information to first responders. The U.S. Department of Transportation acknowledges this data has traditionally been viewed as confidential from a business perspective.
What the Post-Gazette suggests will actually discourage information from being shared with PEMA and first responders and, ironically, may actually compromise public safety. PEMA remains committed to working with all transportation operators to obtain information crucial to protecting public safety.
GLENN M. CANNON
Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency