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Call to action issued after North Dakota oil train wreck

Jan. 7, 2014 at 6:55 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said the number of accidents involving rail cars carrying oil means another layer of federal scrutiny may be required.

No injuries were reported when a BNSF line carrying oil from the Bakken reserve area in North Dakota derailed last week. Last year, more than 40 people were killed in a similar accident in Lac-Megantic, a town in Quebec, Canada.

"The recent crash in Lac-Megantic and explosion in North Dakota, combined with the increased number of trains carrying oil and other hazardous material down the Hudson, are cause for serious concern," Schumer said in a statement Monday.

Schumer said he wanted the federal Department of Transportation to either phase out so-called DOT-111 rail cars or require companies using them to transport crude oil or other hazardous material to overhaul the barrel-shaped cars.

DOT-111 rail cars were involved in the North Dakota and Quebec derailments. The senator said rail lines in his home state and in New Jersey could start carrying more crude oil because of the increase in North American oil production.

The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a safety alert Thursday saying the type of crude oil in the Bakken reserve area in North Dakota may be more flammable than other grades.

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