50 million gallons of oil passes through Minn.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Department of Public Safety is releasing, for the first time ever, the amount of oil being moved through Minnesota on trains.

It's an average of 50 loads per week and much of that is coming from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, according to the report.

Those 50 trains average about one million gallons of oil per train or 50 million gallons per week riding the rails through Minnesota, and much of that goes through the Twin Cities.

Lawmakers who worked on bills to improve rail crossings said this new information is a good start, but they wish the railroads would report the types of oil as well.

"What we've seen in the past is when we've had an accident it has been particularly problematic because this oil is so volatile," said Rep. Frank Hornstein. "(It's) so flammable and we don't want to see accidents taking place in populated areas."

North Dakota sweet crude is more volatile and flammable than oil from other places because the fracking process brings a variety of chemicals to the surface.

The DPS report said Clay County and Ramsey County get the most oil trains in the state, but 39 counties play host to those tankers as they head toward refineries to our east.

Federal regulators drafted new rules this week that would require the railroads to replace older tanker cars with modern cars that are more puncture-proof.

If that rule becomes law the rail lines will have two years to comply. Hornstein said he would like to see it happen much faster.


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