Ahead of a Wednesday congressional hearing on rail safety, Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz will host a roundtable discussion with community leaders and first responders today in Winona.
Walz, a member of the House Transportation Committee, called for the Wednesday hearing on the dangers of hauling crude oil and hazardous materials in response to concerns from residents in La Crescent, a town in his southern Minnesota district with a heavily trafficked freight rail route.
The mayors and fire chiefs from La Crescent and Winona are among those expected to attend today’s meeting.
Representatives from the state Department of Transportation, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Gov. Mark Dayton’s office also plan to attend.
One of the Republicans vying to run against Walz in November criticized the congressman’s approach on the issue.
“Moving oil via pipeline, rather than railcar, is about 70 percent cheaper and far safer. Yet Rep. Walz and his liberal buddies block the safe and efficient transport of U.S. energy and then carp about the danger of moving it by other means,” Jim Hagedorn said.
“Mark my words, their next move will be issuance of even more regulations against the railroad industry.”