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Concerned about oil train reroutes, Dayton pushes up inspections

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Gov. Mark Dayton's concern over train cars carrying crude oil through densely populated areas has prompted him to speed up inspections.

According to the Grand Forks Herald, Dayton says they'll be moving up state inspections of a temporary reroute that has more than a dozen oil trains passing through the Twin Cities each week

The inspections were scheduled for mid-November, but could now get done in the next week, the paper reports.

He also suggested the rail companies need to keep he and other agencies updated on changes to routing, the Pioneer Press reports, so safety officials can ensure resident safety.

In a statement, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway said it's notified the state of required crude weight volumes, and also noted the company does daily track inspections and added trackside detectors to the reroute, the Pioneer Press reports.

The governor's request comes in the wake of a letter he wrote to Carl Ice, CEO of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, about that reroute. It made the number of oil trains passing through an area of Minneapolis rise from zero to three per week, to between 11 and 24.

Dayton's concerns, he wrote, includes the fact that the route wasn't studied last year, since it wasn't identified as a path for Bakken crude.

The reroute is temporary – but it passes by major landmarks such as Target Field, while being close to the Target Center and the University of Minnesota campus. Dayton says it means an extra 99,000 Minnesotans are within the 1/2-mile “evacuation zone” around crude oil routes.

He also asked BNSF to make it clear to the public that this reroute is temporary, give a better indication of when normal service will resume, and expand training for emergency responders to include those along the new route.

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