DOT issues emergency order to Bakken oil shippers

Washington – Shippers transporting large quantities of crude oil from the Bakken Formation must inform state authorities about their expected routes under a May 7 Emergency Order from the Department of Transportation.

DOT issued the order in response to a trend of recent train derailments and fears of Bakken oil – which is suspected of being “extra flammable” – igniting and causing fatalities in safety-sensitive communities. Rail carriers shipping more than 1 million gallons – or about 35 full tank cars – must inform each state’s Emergency Response Commission about the amount and frequency of Bakken oil being shipped, and must provide emergency contact information.

In a safety advisory released the same day, the Federal Railroad Administration and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration recommended that rail carriers use the strongest tank cars in their fleets when shipping Bakken oil until new tank car integrity standards and other safety measures take effect in coming years.