Five BNSF Tanker Cars Derail And Catch Fire Near Harvey, ND

Another firey train derailment, this time near the tiny town of Heimdal, North Dakota. Also close to Harvey.

Here’s a photo. No word yet on what was in the tanker cars. UPDATE: It was oil.

harveytrain

My good friend Rick Jensen at KHND in Harvey is telling me the area around the derailment is being evacuated. The Harvey Fire Department has responded. You can get news updates by following the KHND Facebook page.

UPDATE: Jensen tells me that the Devils Lake hazmat team is enroute. No confirmation yet on what was in the tankers, but Jensen is quoting a local response official as saying it “looks just like Casselton.”

Given the heated political environment around derailments right now expect the usual suspects to make hay.

The Legislature had a big fight over whether or not to add state-funded rail inspectors to the federal personnel working in the state. Some lawmakers balked, but ultimately they decided to appropriate the dollars.

I’m glad they did. “Every derailment threatens our entire oil industry,” Rep. Marvin Nelson (D-Rolla) said during the floor debate (video) in the House over the appropriation, making the point that the negative news coverage of oil train disasters creates an ugly political situation for the oil and rail industries. “Every incident threatens our entire state budget.”

He’s right. Even if we built all the pipelines we’d still have a lot of oil and other potentially hazardous materials like ethanol on rails. Every time an incident like this happens it fans the flames of the anti-fossil fuel activists.

We’ve got to figure out how to keep these trains from derailing. If it takes more state inspectors, so be it.

Update: Here’s video of the derailment:

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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