Pipeline delays causing safety concerns over oil transport

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Energy companies behind the oil boom sweeping the Northern Plains increasingly are turning to trains to move their crude across the U.S. The move comes as pipeline plans stall and existing pipelines can’t keep up with demand.

Delivering oil by rail to refineries thousands of miles away on the East, West and Gulf coasts costs more. But it can bring increased profits – of $10 or more a barrel.

It also means a steady parade of trains carrying the hazardous material rumbling out of North Dakota and Montana and across the country.

Experts and federal regulators say rail transport is less safe than pipelines. That’s raised concerns the proliferation of oil trains could lead to a major derailment and spill.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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