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Does N.D. crude need to be stabilized?

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news Worthington, 56187
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Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

DICKINSON, N.D. — What can be done to keep trains from becoming “Bakken bombs”?

It’s a question on the minds of many North Dakota residents and leaders, so much that some are calling on the state Industrial Commission to require oil companies to use technology to reduce the crude’s volatility. The words are less than kind.

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“Every public official in America who doesn’t want their citizens incinerated will be invited to Bismarck to chew on the commissioners of the NDIC for failing to regulate the industry they regulate,” Ron Schalow of Fargo told The Dickinson Press in a Facebook message.

A train carrying Bakken crude derailed and exploded July 6, 2013, in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing 47 people. Another oil train crashed into a derailed soybean train Dec. 30 near Casselton. No one was killed.

Schalow has started a campaign to require oil companies that drill in North Dakota to use stabilizers, a technology used in Texas to take natural gas liquids off crude to make it safer to ship. His online petition demands that the Industrial Commission force oil companies to remove all explosive natural gas liquids from crude before shipping it by rail. More than 340 people have signed the petition as of Saturday.

Schalow declined an interview, referring instead to his petition and Facebook page titled “The Bomb Train Buck Stops With North Dakota.”

Throughout North Dakota, residents have called on the state’s government to prevent future disasters like these, but some leaders say implementing stabilizers could cause more problems.

“Now you have to pipe from every one of these wells or you have to find a way to get it to this centralized location to be refined,” state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “That creates huge problems in itself.”

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April Baumgarten
April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, as the news editor. She works with a team of talented journalists and editors, who strive to give the Grand Forks area the quality news readers deserve to know. Baumgarten grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family continues to raise registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college,  she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as the Dickinson city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.   
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