This week, the Transportation and Public Safety Committee was presented with the results of a report from the Department of Public Safety regarding the state’s preparedness for an oil transportation incident. It comes as the result of comprehensive legislation regarding railroad and pipeline safety in 2014.
At a time when North Dakota’s oil boom has dramatically increased the volume of oil transportation, many are concerned with the dangers of an oil accident. More than two-thirds of the Bakken Oil Field’s daily production of about 1.2 million barrels of oil are shipped by rail, with most of it moving through Minnesota. The report found that Minnesota’s capacity to respond to an incident relies on both public and private initiatives, with rail and pipeline companies maintaining an ability to respond to any incident and many cities and counties hosting hazard teams that could respond quickly. However, it also found that many of these local first-responders do not have the specialized equipment necessary and could use additional training.
The report recommended increased awareness about oil transportation incidents and more collaboration and connection between private and public responders. The report also suggested connecting funding for training and equipment to regional coordination, developing a state-level evaluation to assess hazardous material preparedness, enhancing the existing response resources database for the state, and establishing additional standards for pipeline preparedness and response.
Click here to read the full report.