November 22, 2015 | Freight rail companies have enjoyed a surge in profits in recent years, thanks in part to the Bakken oil boom. But the profits have come with new political peril, as elected officials — on the DFL side especially — have taken up the cause of oil train safety with gusto.
Some 326,000 Minnesotans live within a half mile of freight tracks, and fiery train crashes elsewhere are raising concerns about similar incidents closer to home.
In recent weeks, Minneapolis City Council members passed a resolution on oil train safety; Gov. Mark Dayton wrote a letter to BNSF Railways expressing concern about more trains coming through the western suburbs to downtown Minneapolis; and U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken demanded more communication between rail companies and state and local officials to improve safety.