LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Rail has strong safety record

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Your editorial “Keystone safety” (July 12) misleads readers by suggesting moving oil by rail is less safe than moving it by other modes of transportation. Your assertion that trains pass through large and small cities causing great risk that would not exist if pipelines were everywhere instead is patently misguided.

Railroads have a strong safety record of moving hazardous materials, including crude oil, which they have been safely handling for 150 years. Today 99.997 percent of all rail hazardous materials shipments reach their destination without a release caused by a train accident.

Rail’s safety record is due to our industry’s strict adherence to rules and regulations, as well as continual private investment in rail’s network infrastructure and equipment — more than $25 billion in 2012 alone.

The editorial stated that the oil produced in Canada is going to move, and we believe pipelines and railroads will share the responsibility of safely moving it to market. As new domestic energy supplies develop, freight railroads are prepared to safely, efficiently and reliably meet customer needs today and into the future.


Senior vice president, communications

Association of American Railroads


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