Booming oil shipments raise safety concerns

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — One of the problems with the oil boom on the American plains is how to move that product to market, especially to the densely populated Eastern United States.

Northwestern North Dakota is now producing more than a million barrels a day, and that production continues to grow, according to the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division. This is American energy, making the nation less dependent on foreign oil producers and creating a shot in the arm for the U.S. economy.

But the production is outstripping pipeline capacity, so much of this crude oil – some estimate about 75 percent – is moving by other means, chiefly rail. Oil shipments by rail jumped from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to more than 435,000 in 2013, The Associated Press reports.

As the shipments have grown so have the accidents, and the derailment near Montgomery, West Virginia, this week is just another example…

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