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Rail News: Safety

North Dakota Gov. Dalrymple discusses crude transportation safety with BNSF's Rose


North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple met with BNSF Railway Co. Executive Chairman Matt Rose on Jan. 3 in Fort Worth, Texas, to discuss the railroad's Dec. 30 derailment and fire near Casselton, N.D., and ways to enhance rail safety, particularly crude oil shipments in North Dakota.

The governor sought answers to questions about the operation of trains carrying crude, associated safety measures and tank cars used to transport oil. The governor also asked Rose about BNSF's operational protocols involving trains passing one another through populated areas while carrying hazardous materials.

"We're going to pursue this until we're satisfied that the appropriate measures are in place for maximum public safety," Dalrymple said in a press release.

The rail industry needs to review its emergency communication systems to safeguard against accidents similar to what occurred near Casselton, he said.

North Dakota officials will continue working with the state's congressional delegation, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and other federal agencies to enhance rail safety, said Dalrymple.

The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources has collected data on the physical properties of Bakken crude and will provide any necessary assistance to PHMSA, which is studying the relative volatility of oil produced in western North Dakota. PHMSA also is in the process of developing new rules regarding tank-car standards, said Dalrymple.

The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation into the cause of the BNSF derailment, which resulted in a large fire and several explosions, but caused no injuries.