DOT takes emergency action on crude oil rail shipments

The U.S. Department of Transportation is taking emergency actions hoping to make crude oil shipments by rail safer.
The emergency order issued Wednesday requires all railroads operating trains with large amounts of crude oil from the Bakken region in North Dakota to notify emergency responders about the shipments passing through their states. Experts say Bakken oil is more volatile.

The train that derailed in Quebec, Canada, last summer was carrying Bakken crude oil. Forty-seven people died.

Effective immediately, railroads operating trains with 35 or more tank cars carrying Bakken crude oil must notify the state emergency response commissions with the route the oil will be transported.

Also Wednesday, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a safety advisory calling for the rail industry to use the strongest made tank cars when transporting this type of oil. The advisory recommends older tank cars not be used to ship Bakken crude.

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