The Bismarck Tribune reports that the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline may possibly reduce rail crude transport by  470,000 barrels or more. SMART TD National Legislative Director John Risch told the newspaper that the downturn in oil shipments by rail could negatively impact BNSF’s ability to continue to invest in rail services.
Click here to read more from the Bismarck Tribune.

oil-train-railAccording to The Oregonian, a Union Pacific oil train traveling through the Columbia River Gorge derailed and caught fire Friday afternoon. Although no injuries were reported, local schools evacuated students and nearby state highways were shut down.
The train originated from North Dakota and was carrying the volatile Bakken crude oil to Washington state. Eleven of the 96-car train derailed almost 70 miles east of Portland, near the town of Mosier, Ore.
SMART TD Washington State Legislative Director Herb Krohn has been briefed on the accident and was dispatched to the scene. Krohn serves on the Transportation Division Rail Safety Task Force.
Click here to see pictures of the derailment from RT news.
Click here to read more from The Oregonian.

oil-train-railWILLISTON, S.D. – South Dakota regulators are poised to make a decision this week on the Dakota Access Pipeline while North Dakota officials wait for the company to provide more information.

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission expects to vote Monday on the state’s portion of the 1,134-mile pipeline that would carry Bakken crude from North Dakota to Patoka, Ill.

The commission can grant a permit for the South Dakota portion of the route, deny the permit or grant a permit with conditions, said Chairman Chris Nelson. A final order from the South Dakota regulators is due Dec. 15.

Read more from The Bismarck Tribune.

two-person_crewLegislation to protect communities along rail lines and railroad workers by requiring trains and light engines carrying freight within California to be operated with an adequate crew size received support from the State Assembly with a 51-28 vote.

The bill, authored by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Solano, now goes to Governor Jerry Brown (D).

“Today’s freight trains carry extremely dangerous materials, including Bakken crude oil, ethanol, anhydrous ammonia, liquefied petroleum gas, and acids that may pose significant health and safety risks to communities and our environment in the case of an accident,” Wolk said. “With more than 5,000 miles of railroad track that crisscrosses the state through wilderness and urban areas, the potential for derailment or other accidents containing these materials is an ever present danger. I urge the governor to sign this bill into law, providing greater protection to communities located along rail lines in California, and to railroad workers.”

Read more from Times-Herald News.