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It’s Not the Tankers…It’s the NGLs Shipped With the Oil

Ron Schalow

The newly proposed DOT oil train safety rules mean NOTHING if North Dakota Bakken producers are still ALLOWED to transport explosive “natural gas liquids” (NGLs), and deadly combustible H2S, in the SAME tanker car as the crude oil.

North Dakota Leaders need to take immediate responsibility for the Bakken oil train explosions, and mandate producers remove ALL explosive natural gas liquids (NGL’s) from Bakken crude BEFORE shipping.

The Dot-111 tanker car is not suited for hauling watered down skim milk. It should go. But it is not the main reason for the violent and deadly explosions that have occurred in the last 12 months. The newer 1232 model cracked open during the Lynchburg derailment going 24 mph.

And, there can never be enough inspections and upgrades of the railroad tracks, and oversight of train movements, but we’ve been trying to keep trains on the tracks in this country for nearly 200 years, and there were still over 1,250 derailments in the U.S. in 2013. Everything helps, but trains will continue to derail.

The explosions; the 300 foot fireballs, walls of fire, incinerated buildings, vaporized humans, fouled water, and poisoned soil…are primarily due to one simple fact, and it has to stop…

Years ago; Bakken oil producers made a business decision to not strip all of the NGL’s from the crude before shipping; AKA “stabilization.” They deliberately chose not to remove all heptane, pentane, methane, propane, butane, ethane, isobutane, H2S, and, so on, from the crude oil, before filling the tanker cars. They make more money if they ship it all.

They picked a few extra bucks, over the lives of people. Greed. Why North Dakota has allowed it for so long…we can only speculate.

North Dakota Leaders, if there are any, need to take immediate responsibility for the Bakken oil train explosions, and the safety of U.S. citizens, by mandating Bakken producers to separate the explosive NGL’s from the crude, or burn them off, before the next Lac-Megantic. Not after.

New tanker cars will take years, and won’t solve the problem.

Rail cars have never stayed on the tracks.

Flare off the explosive elements, and do it now.

North Dakota needs to mandate it, even if the policy is contrary to Bakken oil producer wishes.

These are the people with the power to make this nonsense stop…

The North Dakota Industrial Commission
(Governor – Ag Commissioner – Attorney General (701) 328-3722

Governor Jack Dalrymple
(701) 328-2200

Chief of Staff Ron Rauschenberger (701) 328-2200

Governor’s Senior Policy Advisors

Kayla Effertz (701) 328-2229

Jody Link (701) 328-2203

Tami Ternes (701) 328-2207

Andrea Travnicek (701) 328-2206

Jerod Tufte (701) 328-1048

Jeff Zent 701-328-2424

Ag Commissoner Doug Goehring
(701) 328-2231

Deputy Ag Commissioner Tom Bodine (701) 328-2231

Assistant to the Commissioner Jody Reinke (701) 328-4754

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (701) 328-2210

The North Dakota Public Service Commission (701) 328-2400

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak
Commissioner Randy Christmann
Commissioner Brian Kalk

The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources
Oil & Gas Division (701) 328-8020

Director Lynn Helms

Assistant Director Oil and Gas Division
Bruce E. Hicks

Spokesperson Alison Ritter

The North Dakota Pipeline Authority
(701) 220-6227
Director Justin Kringstad

The North Dakota Petroleum Council
(Lobbyists for Bakken producers) (701) 223-6380

President Ron Ness
Vice President Kari Cutting
Spokesperson Tessa Sandstrom


Ron Schalow
Fargo, North Dakota


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