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After Spill and Explosion, ND Urged to Slow Pace of Drilling

PHOTO: The Dakota Resource Council is among the groups and individuals across the state calling for the state to slow the flow of oil until more protections on transportation can be put in place. CREDIT: DRC
PHOTO: The Dakota Resource Council is among the groups and individuals across the state calling for the state to slow the flow of oil until more protections on transportation can be put in place. CREDIT: DRC
January 7, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. – The oil boom in North Dakota has been a boon economically, but following the recent train fire in Casselton, Gov. Jack Dalrymple is being urged to slow the pace of drilling.

Don Morrison, executive director of the Dakota Resource Council, says the health and safety of residents have been put at risk in the rush to get out as much oil as possible.

"It's creating some bottlenecks and some problems and a whole lot of safety concerns,” he warns.

“The oil spill and now the fiery explosion in Casselton of the train. That's what happens when we're ill-prepared for this kind of development."

Although there were no injuries reported, last week's train collision and explosion led to a daylong evacuation of all of Casselton.

Just three months ago, a pipeline near Tioga ruptured and more than 20,000 barrels of oil escaped in the largest spill in North Dakota history.

Morrison says it's not a matter of if another spill or explosion will happen, but when – until there are changes to reduce the hazards of oil drilling and transportation.

"So if you're ignoring those things, obviously there are going to be some problems,” he says. “Let's hope this is a wake-up call and we focus more attention, and include more people in the process of trying to figure this out."

Dalrymple has been meeting with railroad officials and says the state will pursue the matter until the appropriate measures are in place for maximum public safety.


John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND