The Dec. 9 editorial, “Maine going wrong way on oil-by-rail shipments,” missed the mark on several points.

You state that “keeping transport data secret makes it tough for residents to assess the risk to their communities.” They never could get this data in the first place. The reality is that railroads don’t release that data to anyone.

With the Freedom of Access Act exemption created by the bill passed in the last session of the Legislature, the railroads now will share this information with first responders and the Department of Environmental Protection.

I trust our first responders and am glad that because of this bill — which I sponsored — our local fire departments and the DEP have the information necessary to respond to a situation.

You also state: “Since the law in question — which bars public disclosure of items transported by a railroad — took effect in October, Maine agencies have stopped revealing when, where or how much oil is being transported by rail through the state.”

State officials have never revealed where or when oil was being shipped in Maine by rail. They didn’t have that information. The only information reported to the state before the creation of the FOAA exemption was total monthly volume.

Finally: There is currently no oil being shipped by rail across our state. There hasn’t been for some time now.

Mike Shaw is a former Democratic state representative from Standish. He now lives in Freeport.

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