April 2017 Digital Edition

Click Here

March 2017 Digital Edition

Click Here

Feb. 2017 Digital Edition

Click Here

January 2017 Digital Edition

Click Here

Nov/Dec 2016 Digital Edition

Click Here

Oct 2016 Digital Edition

Click Here

Technology Sectors

Market Sectors

Tear up the non-disclosure agreements for Bakken crude

Editor’s note: In this article Denise Rucker Krepp, former Special Counsel to DOT General Counsel, Senior Counsel on the House Homeland Security Committee, and author of the 9/11 Act rail provisions, gives state, local officials a simple piece of advice regarding NDAs they signed with railroad companies regarding transportation of Bakken crude oil: Tear them up. They’re against the law.

This summer, state and local officials in Pennsylvania, New York, and Washington state were asked to sign NDAs in order to receive information about the transport of Bakken crude through their jurisdiction. The NDAs violate the rail security mandates established in the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act. State and local officials who have signed these agreements should tear them up and tell the rail carriers to reread the 2007 law.

After the Madrid and London rail and mass transit bombings in the mid-2000s, Congress passed the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act. The Department of Homeland Security was tasked with completing a national rail strategy, approving rail carrier security plans, and reviewing security exercises. These mandates were specifically established because Congress was concerned that the department was focusing too much attention on aviation security. The European attacks exposed glaring domestic vulnerabilities but DHS was moving slowly to address them.

Fast forward seven years and the vulnerabilities still exist.  The Lac-Megantic accident demonstrated the risks associated with shipping Bakken crude by rail. The accident, however, did not stop crude by rail shipments. Instead, shipments grew as rail carriers refused to share information with state officials.  The lack of communication became so problematic that in May 2014, Secretary of Transportation Foxx issued an emergency order requiring them to do so.

Secretary Foxx shouldn't have had to issue an emergency order. The 9/11 Act requires rail carriers to share information with local officials and conduct security exercises. The exercises are supposed to be as realistic as practicable and DHS is required to evaluate them. Sadly, this isn't happening; too many first responders are reporting that they are not prepared and still in the dark about rail cargo shipments.

As the author of the 9/11 Act rail provisions, it's my recommendation that governors and local officials contact DHS and request copies of the rail carrier security plans and the exercises that have been conducted in their jurisdiction. A successful response and recovery operation will be dependent upon state and local maintained resources and the men and women who are responsible for these resources should know how the rail carriers expect to use them.

I also recommend that governors seek clarification from DHS on the sharing of information with local communities. Congress directed DHS to notify communities and local governments in the areas in which the security exercises are held. The notification isn't simply that an exercising is occurring. Rather, the expectation is for local communities to participate in the exercises, especially those involving dangerous substances like Bakken crude.

Early and robust community involvement in the planning process will help first responders properly prepare for the next Lac Megantic. With the increased number of Bakken crude by rail shipments, it's not a question of if but when. This reality dictates greater information sharing, not legal agreements silencing those who are responsible for the safety of local communities.

 

Recent Videos

HID Global is opening the door to a new era of security and convenience.  Powered by Seos technology, the HID Mobile Access solution delivers a more secure and convenient way to open doors and gates, access networks and services, and make cashless payments using phones and other mobile devices. ...
Mobile device forensics can make a difference in many investigations, but you need training that teaches you how to get the most out of your mobile forensics hardware and software, and certifies you to testify in court. Read this white paper to learn how to evaluate mobile forensics training...
PureTech Systems is a software company that develops and markets PureActiv, its geospatial analytics solution designed to protect critical perimeters and infrastructure.  Its patented video analytics leverage thermal cameras, radars and other perimeter sensors to detect, geo-locate, classify, and...
PureTech Systems is a technology leader in the use of geospatial video, focusing on perimeter security.  When combining geospatial capabilities with video analytics and PTZ camera control, managers of critical facilities can benefit by allowing the video management system to aid them in the process...