Cleanup underway after train spills 230,000 gallons of oil near Minnesota border

The oil has entered the Little Rock and Rock rivers.
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Cleanup operations are underway in northwest Iowa after a train derailment spilled 230,000 gallons of oil.

Officials at BNSF said 32 rail cars derailed near Doon, Iowa on Friday, about 15 miles south of the Minnesota border.

Some of this has been carried down the Little Rock and Rock rivers, while around 100,000 gallons has been contained with booms placed near the derailment.

Environmental experts and Haz-mat teams have been trying to recapture as much as possible of the rest with oil-water separators, skimmers and vacuum trucks.

The Minnesota-Iowa border has been afflicted with flooding recently, making it easier for the oil to spread, with MPR reporting cities downstream from the derailment are now monitoring their water systems.

BNSF workers have also been unloading oil from the 10 tank cars that didn't leak as a result of the derailment.

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"In addition to focusing on the environmental recovery, ongoing monitoring is occurring for any potential conditions that could impact workers and the community and so far have found no levels of concern," BNSF said.

"We are thankful there were no injuries as a result of this incident and regret the inconvenience it has caused the community."

Spills from oil trains occur more frequently than spills from oil pipelines, a statistic used as an argument for pipeline building, though opponents counter by pointing out that pipeline spills are far greater in volume than those from trains.

But this Washington Post piece in 2015 notes that the number of accidents per billion barrels transported is far greater for trains than it is for pipelines.

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