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How Safe Is It To Transport Oil By Rail?

Listen Now:
Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The town of Casselton, North Dakota, is recovering from Monday’s explosion of a derailed train carrying crude oil from the Bakken Shale.

No one was hurt but the Mayor of Casselton, Ed McConnell, said it could have been much worse if the explosion had happened in town.

“There have been numerous derailments in this area,” McConnell told the Associated Press. “It’s almost gotten to the point that it looks like not if we’re going to have an accident, it’s when. We dodged a bullet by having it out of town, but this is too close for comfort.”

McConnell also said that it’s time to talk about the safety of moving oil by rail car.

In 2009 almost 11,000 carloads of crude oil were moved by rail, the most recent annual projection of carloads of crude oil move by rail was 400,000.

Alan Dybing, research fellow with the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss the safety of transporting oil by rail.



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