Emergency DOT order tightens safety on Bakken oil trains - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Emergency DOT order tightens safety on Bakken oil trains

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RED WING, Minn. (KTTC) -- An emergency order by the U.S. Department of Transportation is placing new safety requirements on companies shipping Bakken crude oil by train from North Dakota

These trains run right through many communities along the Mississippi River, and the "volatile" crude oil in them has proven to be dangerous in the past. The trains come through Red Wing several times per day, but when they will arrive, where they're going, or how many thousands of gallons of Bakken crude oil are inside, has remained a mystery.

"Currently there's been no reporting to us exactly what's going through our community," said Red Wing Emergency Management Director Roger Hand. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued an emergency order for the railroads like Canadian Pacific to start communicating with communities. 

"We can't stop it but we're trying to gather more information from the various railroad entities in our area. CP Rail runs the tracks here," Hand said, pointing to the tracks where Red Wing's shores meet the Mississippi River

This new order requires that trains with more than one million gallons of Bakken crude oil, or about 35 cars, will have to notify the state when they'll be coming through which counties and with how much they'll have with them. 

"This is something that we appreciate the help of the Federal Railroad Administration in helping us, I guess; know when that material is being transported through our community," Hand said.

The order will help first responders be ready in case of a disaster but officials said they're already well-prepared. 

"We practice by locating the hazardous material codes on the tankers and looking that up in our response guides and say, 'Ok, what if that were to leak or something were to happen?'" said Red Wing Police Chief Roger Pohlman. 
If a fire were to occur they'd have to evacuate, at a minimum, everyone within a half mile, but this new order will minimize risk and inform residents of just what's in those rail cars passing by. 

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