One car in a Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. derailment in Parkers Prairie, Minn., spilled nearly all of its 26,000-gallon payload. Two other cars were leaking minor amounts of oil, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said.
MPCA spokesman Dan Olson was quoted by The Globe and Mail newspaper in Canada as saying the cause of the derailment wasn't known but the environmental effects were expected to be negligible.
"We've determined there really isn't an environment threat to either the surface water downstream of the ditch, or to groundwater under the site, as it's all still frozen," he said. "So it's all contained, it's not migrating downstream or into the soil."
Olson said the rail company would have to come in later and remove any oil-contaminated oil.
The incident comes as crude oil deliveries by rail increase because production from the northern United States and Canada has outpaced pipeline capacity.
Bob Ballantyne, chairman of Canada's Coalition of Rail Shippers, told the newspaper the incident doesn't put a black mark on oil-by-rail deliveries.
"Once you have any kind of vehicles moving, every once and a while you're going to have an accident," he said.