The railroad industry is being challenged by recent state regulations requiring the disclosure of routing information of trains carrying hazardous materials (hazmat) to the general public. While there is a need to know, the dissemination of such information is contrary to both industry practice and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) rules. The conundrum is that there needs to be disclosure to first responders, law enforcement, fusion centers and the like to ensure the security and safety of the public.
This paper addresses the rules regulating the movement and handling of hazmat, to include toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) material; government demands, particularly those at the state level to release the routes, commodities, and quantities to the general public; and the operational impacts and risks that could result. It then explores the security of how hazmat train routing information can be safeguarded while ensuring that first responders and affected communities have what is needed to address the risks and be able to effectively respond to incidents. The overlaps and conflicts found in the rules and regulations of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) are also addressed.