Franken to push for oil train safety measures

Along Highway 10
Oil tank cars sit on rail lines adjacent Highway 10 near Detroit Lakes, Minn., in March 2014.
Ann Arbor Miller / For MPR News, File

U.S. Sen. Al Franken said Monday that he will ask the federal Surface Transportation Board to address the growing hazards posed by crude oil shipments over railroad lines.

"I think we have to tell the railroads that they have to provide more cars and do more shipping and take responsibility for meeting the increased demand," said Franken, who was in Moorhead to discuss railroad service and safety.

The increased frequency of crude oil shipments on the railroads risk more accidents like the explosion that occurred west of Fargo in December, he said.

Franken, a Democrat, said Congress should establish a fund to address short- and long-term effects increased crude oil shipments by rail. "We have the safety issue of not repeating Casselton," Franken said. "But we also have a very, very dire situation with agriculture here in Minnesota and North Dakota."

Franken also toured the city with local officials to see the traffic problems caused by frequent trains.

To improve safety in Moorhead, Franken said he would support federal spending on an underpass to reduce traffic congestion.

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