Rail Safety Latest Developments
Investing in Railway Safety
Accidents in nearby states involving trains carrying crude oil have raised concerns over the safety of Minnesota’s railways and the people living near them.
Legislation signed in July 2014 by Governor Mark Dayton requires the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to provide oil transportation awareness trainings to local jurisdictions across the state. As of September 24:
- 3,248 first responders from 101 departments have been trained to better understand the hazards posed by the transportation of oil and other hazardous substances and how to best protect the public’s safety.
- 140 classroom sessions held
- 15 additional sessions are currently scheduled
- Three table top exercises related to oil transportation scheduled or completed
- Participants are provided a map of their jurisdiction describing the important community assets within a half mile of the rail line.
- All state Chemical Assessment and Emergency Response Teams have received advanced training in response to crude oil.
- Oil training advisory group formed with state agency participation from: Department of Public Safety, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Minnesota Board of Firefighter Training and Education
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has completed its report outlining Minnesota’s response capabilities
for an oil transportation incident. This report presents key findings on emergency preparedness, training of first responders and recommendations for implementing best practices.
Rail Safety Overview
Laws improving the safety of Minnesotans who live and work near railways that carry crude oil and other hazardous materials went into effect on July 1, 2014.
The Department of Public Safety, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the railroads will carry out the new rail safety legislation passed by the Legislature and signed Gov. Mark Dayton into law in May 2014.
The new laws follow accidents involving crude oil in neighboring states and provinces and will implement stricter oversight of railroad companies, require more railway inspections and provide for better emergency response training and preparedness in communities across Minnesota.
Rail Safety Information and Resources
Rail Safety News Releases
Governor Dayton Applauds New Federal Actions to Improve Rail Safety
From Office of Governor Dayton
Governor Dayton applauded the U.S. Department of Transportation’s announcement of new measures to improve the safety of trains carrying highly-flammable Bakken crude oil by reducing the speed that they travel through Minnesota cities. Read the full news release here.
Governor Dayton to Local Leaders: How is Increased Railway Traffic Impacting Your Communities?
From Office of Governor Dayton
Governor Mark Dayton reached out to 300 communities located along railway routes in Minnesota, asking how increased rail traffic and the volatility of oil shipments are impacting local budgets and the quality of life enjoyed by area residents. Read the full news release here.
New state rail safety regulations now in effect
From Minnesota Department of Transportation
Laws improving the safety of Minnesotans who live and work near railways that carry crude oil and other hazardous materials went into effect on July 1. Details about the new regulations are available in the release.