State: Up to 7 Bakken oil trains a week through Oklahoma

2014-08-05T13:43:00Z State: Up to 7 Bakken oil trains a week through OklahomaThe Associated Press The Associated Press
August 05, 2014 1:43 pm  • 

OKLAHOMA CITY — As many as seven oil trains a week pass through Oklahoma carrying crude drilled in the Northern Plains that has been involved in multiple fiery derailments, including a 2008 explosion northeast of Oklahoma City involving oil from Montana.

Responding to public records requests, Oklahoma's emergency response commission on Monday disclosed the number of trains expected through 20 counties. It did not name the railroads involved.

Oil trains travel through the state's two most populous counties: Oklahoma County, with one train a week, and Tulsa County, with four, according to the commission.

In August 2008, an oil train that originated in Fairview, Mont., derailed near the town of Luther, causing an explosion and fire involving more than 80,000 gallons of crude. Another derailment and explosion in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic last summer killed 47 people.

Railroads provided details on the shipments to states in June, under a federal order covering all shipments of at least 1 million gallons of crude from the Bakken, the oil-rich rock formation fueling the oil boom in eastern Montana and western North Dakota. An individual oil train can carry three times that volume in more than 100 tank cars.

Some railroads, including Union Pacific and BNSF railway, tried to convince states not to release the information, claiming it was security sensitive.

But many states have disagreed and made some or all of the information about the shipments public in order to raise awareness and comply with public records laws.

Oklahoma's Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission said it decided to release the information because it does not include specifics about individual shipments.

The information suggests trains carrying Bakken oil take several different routes in the north east and central portion of the state. Shipment details have been given to emergency responders in each county that has the trains, according to state officials.

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