Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) traveled to his state of North Dakota to view the train derailment that occurred Wednesday morning near Heimdal, North Dakota. He noted that “no amount of regulations” would prevent accidents from occurring.
“Accidents will happen even if no one does anything wrong or improper,” Cramer said in a statement released Wednesday night.
The small town of Heimdal, where only about 40 people reside, was evacuated once the derailed cars caught fire. Officials said there were no injuries.
“First, we should all say a special prayer of thanks no one was injured as a result of this derailment and fire. I would like to commend the professionalism and dedication of all of the first responders helping deal with this accident,” Cramer stated.
The Associated Press reviewed federal records on accidents and found that since 2006, there have been roughly 24 oil train accidents, which have caused a fire, derailment, or fuel spill in Canada and the United States.
CBS News reported this is the fifth train derailment this year.
The U.S. Department of Transportation with Canada’s Transport Ministry enacted new safety rules for oil trains. The rules phase out old tank cars, add electronic brakes, and require speed limits. Reuters reports, “The measures were all meant to reduce the frequency and severity of oil train crashes.”
The tank cars involved Wednesday would be rendered out of date within the next five years, according to Reuters.
“Sadly, North Dakota is becoming all too familiar with the scenes of oil car derailments but it is important to remember no amount of regulations will realistically prevent accidents from occurring,” said Cramer.
About two-thirds of all North Dakota oil production is shipped by rail, three-quarters of that to refiners on the U.S. East Coast.
“Our continuing need to ship crude oil across the country highlights the importance for more pipelines to safely carry crude oil from the Bakken region in North Dakota,” Cramer concluded.