[colored_box color=green]A fire burns Monday, Feb. 16, 2015, after a train derailment near Charleston, W.Va. Nearby residents were told to evacuate as state emergency response and environmental officials headed to the scene. (AP Photo/The Register-Herald, Steve Keenan)[/colored_box]
Oil safety involves more than tankers
While the investigation continues into Monday’s massive explosion of Bakken crude oil tankers after a train derailment in West Virginia, a spokesperson for the Department of Mineral Resources says proper conditioning of the oil is just one of four pieces needed to ensure transport safety.
Alison Ritter said the State Industrial Commission’s oil conditioning order, effective April 1, sets a standard of certainty for the design of safe railcars.
“This is where we believe North Dakota fits into the solution of making oil as safe as possible for transport,” Ritter said.
However, she said the Federal Railroad Administration is responsible for unit train routing, speed limits, brakes and track maintenance, as well as notification of state emergency responders. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is responsible for overseeing how crude is labeled and tanker car design, and it and states are responsible for funding and training emergency responders, she said.
CSX Transport says the Bakken oil tankers that exploded this week were built to the higher safety standards.
The Dakota Resource Council continued its attack on state officials Wednesday, saying the new oil conditioning order for Bakken oil falls far short of what’s needed.
The order requires oil producers to reduce volatile gases in the oil to reach a maximum pressure of 13.7 pounds per square inch.
The DRC and others point out that the Bakken oil involved in a derailment explosion that killed 52 people in Quebec in 2013 was even lower, at 9.3 psi.
“We can and should do better,” the organization said in a statement Wednesday. The organization had pressed the Industrial Commission to require that the oil be stabilized to remove more of the gases.
Bakken crude has been involved in six train explosions since 2008, including one outside Casselton 14 months ago.
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Excellent article. Railroad Workers are also potentially sympathetic on this issue and are planning (at least) two conferences, starting in March, to reach out to environmentalists and/or community activists on this issue. Find out more at http://www.railroadconference.org/
–Steve Ongerth, co-founder, IWW Environmental Unionism Caucus (http://ecology.iww.org)