And what are the Comments about?  Here’s the Plan:

Draft MN State Rail Plan


Why does it take as long for media to pick up an explosion and long burning waste disposal site near Williston, ND as it does for a train derailment in Ontairo?

Here’s the poop on yesterday’s (3:20 a.m.) explosion in Williston:

KXNEWS, ND: Waste Disposal Ste near Williston Explodes

Valley News: Dangerous Fire Breakes Out at Waste Disposal Site South of Williston Explosion razes waste disposal site near Alexandria , which has the most details:

A fire so massive that it could not be approached by firefighters erupted after an explosion at an oil waste disposal site north of Alexander, North Dakota. According to KXNews, McKenzie County Emergency Manager Karlin Rockvoy said the only thing to do at first was watch the fire burn itself out.

The explosion occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m. Emergency responders from both Williston and Alexander established a perimeter around the site to ensure the safety of anyone in the area. Five employees at the facility escaped unharmed, one of whom reported jumping out of the way just in time.

Firefighters were able to get the flames under control by midmorning, though the cause of the explosion is still unknown.

The complex, which undertook the treatment and disposal of oilfield waste, was completely destroyed during the incident. According to the Bismarck Tribune, Rockvoy reported that any damage caused by the explosion was contained by a surrounding embankment.

The waste disposal site was owned by Tervita, a company which specializes in dealing with industrial waste while focusing on environmentally conscious solutions. The facility was operated by Republic Services, which recently acquired Tervita, LLC, a subsidiary of Tervita Corporation. The merger heightened Republic Services’ presence in the oil and gas waste sector.

Bismarck Tribune: Explosion at oil and gas waste disposal site contained

Google this and find all of five media posts…

alarm-clock-ringingAt the February 11, 2015 meeting of the Silica Sand Advisory Panel, at least two of the agency speakers said they wanted comments on the rule drafts in 30 days or so, and that 30 days is almost up.  BUT, it’s been hard to find those drafts, and it’s even harder to make comments on something not findable!  They are not posted on the Advisory Panel site.

Also, I’ve heard several times that “the legislature will block these new rules” or some such, and I can’t get a read on what exactly is the concern, but the legislature isn’t going to block rulemaking because there’s nothing the legislature can do to block a rulemaking proceeding, it does not require legislative approval.  Now they could change the law, and repeal the rulemaking requirement, but change the law?!?!  That’s highly unlikely “they” could.

The deadline is extended to March 18 via an email from Nathan Cooley, MPCA:

Dear Panel Members and Alternates,
In addition to the reminder of a deadline to provide your input (which Heather asked me to extend from Friday 3/13 to Wednesday 3/18/2015), staff have asked me to forward working copies of preliminary draft working language in MS Word format to improve input convenience:
Nathan Brooks Cooley
Rulemaking Coordinator
651-757-2290 v
651-297-8676 x

Big thanks to Nathan Cooley and Catherine Neuschler of the MPCA for being responsive and coughing up the drafts!  Both PDFs and WORD are below, because track changes may be helpful:

PDF Draft Rules:

DNR Rule (pdf) Draft Silica Sand Reclamation Rule_2015_03_03

MPCA Air Emissions (pdf) 20141125 Draft Silica Sand Emission Rule (3)

MPCA Air Monitoring (pdf) EXHIBIT M

EQB Rule (pdf) Preliminary EQB_Draft Rules_ Definitions__2_19_2015

WORD Draft Rules (for track changes comments):

DNR Rule (docx) Draft Silica Sand Reclamation Rule_2015_03_03

MPCA Air Emissions (docx) 20141125 Draft Silica Sand Emission Rule (3)

MPCA Air Monitoring (docx) EXHIBIT M

EQB Rule (docx) Preliminary EQB_Draft Rules_ Definitions__2_19_2015

Have at it, folks, and get your comments to your Silica Sand Advisory Panel Representatives:

Local government representatives

Citizen representatives

Industry representatives



BNSF Update (21 cars derailed, 5 burning)

Another BNSF Bakken oil BOOM! train has derailed and blown up.  Evacuations are happening as I type within a 1 mile radius of the wreck.  DOH!  How much more of this will we have to take?

Access will be a problem on this one too, “had to access it by bike trail.”  Great, just great… They couldn’t get to the source of the fire, and had to leave quickly for safety reasons, abandoning over $10k of equipment at the site.  They’re going to “let it burn out.”  Could be a while.  EPA is on way from Chicago, BNSF crews from area.  There’s some good video on the KWQC link way below.   The oil is going down from the railroad grade, burning, and trees down there are on fire too, it’s a wooded area, and could go up in flames.  It’s not directly on the river, but the river isn’t that far away.

Dubuque Telegraph Herald — UPDATE: Evacuations underway as railcars burn near Galena

WQAD: Train carrying oil derails near Galena, Illinois

STrib: BNSF freight train loaded with crude oil derails near Illinois city of Galena, catches fire

Chicago Sun-Times: State agencies mobilize after crude oil train derails near Galena

Posted at Chicago Sun-Times:


KWQC: Clean-up crews on scene at train derailment site near Galena, Ill.

Visible on the ski slope cameras:  Live slope top cameras located at Chestnut Mountain Ski Resort.  Dark now, but should be visible again tomorrow.

Reuters: BNSF oil train derails in rural Illinois; two cars aflame

KWWL: UPDATE: 8 train cars derail; 2 continue to burn crude oil



News Reports:

Governor declares state of emergency after oil train derails, sets house ablaze

West Virginia Train Derailment Sends Oil Tanker Into River

Crude Oil Train Derails in Fayette County, WV

WCHS Updates

From CSX oil train derails in W. Virginia, 14 cars on fire

It’s happened again, another Bakken BOOM! train derailment and explosion.  And where did the wreck happen?  BOOMER BOTTOM, West Virginia… really!  At least 14 cars are reported derailed, one went into a  home and blew up, destroying the home.  Water supply is drawn from the river and has been shut off, oil on the river is burning. Route 61 has been shut off at the Montgomery bridge.  Power is off because flames melted powerlines.   Two towns evacuated, one person hospitalized so far, no deaths reported yet.


How many explosions; how many homes, businesses, riverbanks must be burned and leveled; how many people must die before the DOT puts its foot down?  DEGASIFY!  How long are we going to take this?

This is not rocket science.  Bakken oil is exceedingly, dangerously volatile, much more so that typical crude.  It MUST be degasified before it is transported by any means, by pipeline, by rail, by truck, NO, DO NOT SHIP, it’s an explosion waiting to happen.

Here’s the DOT letter regarding degasifying:

1_2_14 DOT Rail_Safety_Alert

I hope you’re as pissed off about this as I am — and remember, it’s better to be pissed off than pissed on.  Please take a few seconds and dash off a note to our Senators and Representatives to demand that Bakken crude be degasified before it’s shipped, starting NOW!

Send a simple message to all federal Senators and Representatives:

Shipping this Bakken oil without degasifying it first is TOO DANGEROUS.  IMMEDIATE MORATORIUM on shipments of Bakken oil, not one drop to be shipped until it is degasified, whether by rail, pipeline, truck tanker, or barge, not one drop moves until its degasified.

In Minnesota:



CongressCritters HERE. 

Minnesota Representatives — name is linked to their site:

District Name Party Room Phone Committee Assignment
1 Walz, Timothy J. D 1034 LHOB 202-225-2472 Agriculture
Armed Services
Veterans’ Affairs
2 Kline, John R 2439 RHOB 202-225-2271 Armed Services
Education and the Workforce
3 Paulsen, Erik R 127 CHOB 202-225-2871 Ways and Means
4 McCollum, Betty D 2256 RHOB 202-225-6631 Appropriations
5 Ellison, Keith D 2263 RHOB 202-225-4755 Financial Services
6 Emmer, Tom R 503 CHOB 202-225-2331 Agriculture
Foreign Affairs
7 Peterson, Collin C. D 2204 RHOB 202-225-2165 Agriculture
8 Nolan, Rick D 2366 RHOB 202-225-6211 Agriculture

Here’s the quick message I sent — so simple:

Another Bakken BOOM! train has exploded in West Virginia.  These trains go through Minnesota every day, here in Red Wing every day, and look what happens!  They explode.   All Bakken crude must be degasified before shipment by ANY means.  Please get on this today and introduce a bill requiring degasificaiton of Bakken crude before shipment.

Take a few minutes and just do it.  NOW!

And in the meantime, here’s an insurance industry take:

‘Degassing’ North Dakota Crude Before Shipping Among Safety Ideas