The U.S. Department of Transportation announced proposed rules today that would phase out the use of older rail tank cars, known as DOT-111 tank cars, within two years. The move comes after a number of fiery train wrecks. It also requires trail companies to notify first responders when a train with a high level of crude is expected to travel through a community. The issue is of particular important in Minnesota, where trains are hauling highly flammable crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota.
"The last thing we want is to see communities like Winona, Wayzata or La Crescent added to the lists of Casselton, Lac-Megantic and other cities where oil trains have derailed and exploded. The safety of our communities is of the utmost importance," Walz said in a statement.
He added that while these proposed rules are not perfect, they "are a step in the right direction." He said he plans to work closely with the Department of Transportation, local officials and other stakeholders on crafting these rules.
Here's a handy map that details Minnesota's freight rail lines.