Exploding Oil Trains Prompt More Stringent Safety Tests

Feb 26, 2014

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued an emergency order Tuesday requiring crude oil from North Dakota and Montana to be tested before being transported by railroads.

The order follows several fiery derailments involving shipments of crude oil. It is intended to ensure greater safety when the highly flammable liquid is being shipped.

Jay Tappan is Chief of Columbia River Fire and Rescue. It’s one of many fire departments in the Pacific Northwest preparing for the risk of an oil train derailment. Concerns are running high as more oil is being shipped by rail from the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana.

“I think we’re all finally starting to understand that the Bakken crude is a little bit more volatile, little more flammable than we had thought before so it’s good that they’re getting a handle on the exact classification of that commodity.” Tappan Said

Tappan has been waiting for stricter rules to help his responders handle an oil train fire.

A port in Oregon and five refineries in Washington currently accept rail shipments of crude oil. Several other shipping terminals have been proposed in the region.

Copyright 2014 Oregon Public Broadcasting