Gov. Jack Dalrymple today met with Matt Rose, CEO and Chairman of BNSF Railway, to discuss the Dec. 30 train derailment and fire near Casselton and ways to enhance rail safety, particularly the shipment of North Dakota crude oil. Dalrymple and Rose met for about an hour today at BNSF headquarters in Ft. Worth, Texas.
"I wanted to ask BNSF more questions about the operation of trains that carry oil, their safety measures and about the tank cars used to ship North Dakota crude oil," Dalrymple said. "We're going to pursue this until we're satisfied that the appropriate measures are in place for maximum public safety."
Dalrymple said the railroad industry needs to review its emergency communication systems to safeguard against accidents similar to what occurred near Casselton. The governor also asked Rose about BNSF's operational protocols involving trains passing one another through populated areas while carrying hazardous materials.
Dalrymple told Rose that state 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.
The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources has collected data on the physical properties of Bakken crude oil and will provide any needed 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 rail car tanker standards, Dalrymple said.
The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation into the cause of the Dec. 30 train derailment and fire about a half-mile west of Casselton. Initial reports indicate that a westbound train carrying grain derailed shortly after 2p.m., sending grain cars onto an adjacent set of tracks. Soon after, an eastbound train on the neighboring tracks collided with derailed grain cars in its path, causing a larger derailment and a large fire with several explosions. No injuries have been reported.