North Dakota's Hoeven grills BNSF boss on safety

March 12, 2014 at 9:24 AM
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BISMARCK, N.D., March 12 (UPI) -- North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven said during talks with BNSF Railway his constituents in the oil-rich state were "rightly concerned" about rail safety.

The Republican senator met in Bismarck with BNSF Railway Chief Executive Officer Carl Ice to review steps taken to increase rail safety in the state following a January derailment in Casselton.

"North Dakotans and I are rightly concerned about not only the safety of our communities, but also the reliability of rail transportation to carry people and goods in our rapidly growing economy," Hoeven said in a statement Tuesday.

About 950 barrels of oil spilled when two trains operated by BNSF Railway collided and derailed in the January incident.

North Dakota is one of the leading oil producing states in the country. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a safety alert in early January saying the type of crude oil in the Bakken reserve area in the state may be more flammable than other grades.

Hoeven said he was urging the BNSF leader to follow rail safety recommendations, including increased track inspections and decreased speeds.

Ice said commodity shipments by rail were more than two weeks behind schedule, but offered no specifics for the delays.

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