Your Montana Public Radio
Bakken oil rail
Tue January 7, 2014
Two dramatic explosions in a year raise questions about the safety of carrying Bakken oil by rail
The boom in oil development in this country has increased the amount of oil shipped by rail from 10,000 tanker cars annually to 400,000 cars - just in the last four years.
As we reported last week, the federal Department of Transportation has issued an alert, warning that crude oil shipped from the Bakken oil fields may be more prone to catching fire than other kinds of oil. Last year, 47 people in a small town in Quebec were killed when a train carrying Bakken oil derailed and caught fire. And just last week, another train derailed and its oil tanker cars exploded near Casselton, North Dakota. The derailment occurred just outside of town and no one was injured.
These incidents have caught the attention of local, state and federal officials charged with mitigating and managing disasters. Ed Tinsley is the division administrator for Montana's Disaster and Emergency Services department. In this feature interview, he talks with News Director Sally Mauk about the dangers posed by rail transport of Bakken oil - a transport he says occurs throughout Montana.