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Continued: NTSB urges oil trains be routed away from population centers

  • Article by: DAVID SHAFFER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 23, 2014 - 11:58 PM

Giles, who formerly headed a petroleum industry trade group, said the challenge of diverting trains is even greater on the East Coast, where much of the crude-by-rail is headed. “If you look at a nighttime picture of the East Coast from space, it is just a blaze of light,” he said. “How are you going to avoid that?”

In the Twin Cities, BNSF and Canadian Pacific declined to say whether they divert other hazardous cargoes such as chlorine or anhydrous ammonia outside the metro area. Both companies cited post-9/11 security concerns over the disclosure of such information.

The NTSB, in its safety recommendation, said it “is concerned that major loss of life, property damage, and environmental consequences can occur when large volumes of crude oil or other flammable materials are on a single train ... as seen in the Lac-Mégantic accident.”

NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said large-scale shipment of crude oil by rail didn’t happen 10 years ago, and that safety regulations must catch up.

“While this energy boom is good for business, the people and the environment along rail corridors must be protected from harm,” she said in a statement.

 

David Shaffer • 612-673-7090 @ShafferStrib

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