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Letter: Railroad report cherry picks data

The Dickinson Press published an article on Dec. 29 entitled "Trains carrying more oil across U.S. amid boom" that has some factual errors.

It misleads readers about the vital role railroads are playing in meeting the growing need to transport crude oil throughout North America.

Railroads and pipelines both have strong safety records when it comes to moving crude oil and other hazardous liquids.

Unfortunately, the story wrongly claimed that pipelines are "more safe" than rail, citing a highly flawed report that significantly understates the safety of railroads in comparison with pipelines. The report cherry picks data, by highlighting rail hazmat spills despite the size, but excludes all pipeline incidents below 5 gallons.

Nationwide, $23 billion has been invested in privately owned and maintained rail network infrastructure to help improve tracks. These investments ensure that freight rails can meet the demands of the global economy.

While additional pipelines will probably be built in the upcoming years, the competitive advantages that railroads offer will ensure rail continues to support the need to safely move crude oil long into the future.

Patricia M. Reilly, senior vice president, Association of American Railroads, Washington, D.C.