From The Columbus Dispatch Millions of gallons of some of the most volatile crude oil in North America are being transported on rail lines through Ohio each week, according to reports that the state had kept secret until this week.
The railroad-company reports show that 45 million to 137 million gallons of Bakken crude oil come through Ohio each week from North Dakota oil fields on the way to East Coast refineries.
Two million to 25 million gallons a week come through Franklin County alone.
Bakken crude oil is desirable to oil and gas companies because it requires less refining than other shale oil to be turned into diesel fuel and gasoline. It also is highly flammable.
Prompted by a 2013 train derailment and explosion that killed 47 people in Quebec and an explosion in Lynchburg, Va., last April, federal regulators began requiring railroads in May to report the average weekly number of trains carrying at least 1 million gallons of Bakken crude.
Those reports are sent to state emergency-management agencies. The U.S. Department of Transportation has said the files don’t contain sensitive security details, prompting some states, including Virginia and Washington, to make the reports public.
Despite requests from environmental groups, citizens and news outlets, including one from The Dispatch in July, Ohio would not release the reports, citing an exemption in the public-records law meant to prevent acts of terrorism.
Then this week, the state released the records to Lea Harper, managing director of the FreshWater Accountability Project, an environmental advocacy group.