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As others see it: A case of more planning being needed

West Central Tribune

Minnesota state and local officials are ill-prepared to respond to any major oil-train fire incident in the state.

The case of the recent derailment, explosion and fire of an oil train near Casselton, N.D., on Dec. 31 is a prime example. Vast amounts of fire-suppression foam were required to contain the oil fire that resulted. ...

Basically, local officials right now have to depend upon BNSF Railway Co., Canadian Pacific and other railroad companies’ firefighting capabilities for their emergency response.

The concern of Minnesota’s rail-disaster response is a real issue for the state and every community lying along a rail corridor.

North Dakota has become the second-largest oil producing state, which ships 70 percent of its 1 million barrels per day via rail. A large share of those shipments travel through Minnesota via rail to refineries on the East or Gulf coasts.

When the Minnesota Department of Transportation has no major response team established for rail oil accidents, how can one expect small town volunteer fire departments to be prepared such disasters.

Minnesota needs to get prepared to respond to a significant oil-train accident and help local communities along the tracks get prepared as well.