BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – Attorney General for North Dakota and Montana asked the Trump administration Wednesday's Washington state law to overcome new restrictions on oil trains from the Northern Plains to protect against explosive rails.
A legal petition to the Department of Transport, Montana Attorney, Tim Fox and Wayne Stenehjem, North Dakota, said that the federal authority over railway under the law of the state.
Washington signed Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, is the measure in May requiring more volatile gas to be shipped by rail through the state to reduce the risk of explosive railings and potentially potentially deadly.
The transfer of fuel and explosive oil train rails over the last decade, including the 2013 accident in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, continued to kill 47 people. The explosions attracted widespread public attention to the volatile nature of Bakken shipments.
But the colleagues say that the new restrictions to the Pacific Northwest refineries would effectively off borders from Bakken region, one of the most productive oil areas across the border between North Dakota and Montana. That's because the process of treating the oil to make it more volatile would be too expensive to justify, they said.
“It is quite clear that the state of Washington violated its borders,” said Fox. “The impact would be devastating, both on the economies of North Dakota and Montana, and on how it convicts the rule of law.” T
Fox and Stenehjem also warned that safety could be accidentally removed from Washington law without prejudice to the railway industry on the duty to podge state laws rather than ordinary federal standards.
The raw navigation of the region on rail is a common practice due to a limited number of pipelines, which are considered safer for ship oil.
In the first quarter of 2019, almost 16 million raw barrels (670 million gallons) moved through Washington's state, almost all from North Dakota, according to a recent report from Washington's Department of Ecology.
Jaime Smith, communications director of Inslee, said the state would protect his law.
“As Washington saw a huge dependence on the number of oil trains traveling through our state, this legislation is a reasonable approach to increased volumes of volatile crude oil,” said Smith.
Representatives of the Department of Transport did not respond to telephone messages and emails seeking comments. The agency has six months to issue a decision on the petition or explain why a decision is delayed, according to Fox spokesman John Barnes.
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