Tag Archives: Williston ND

County votes down rail

Repost from the Williston Herald

County votes down rail

Prefers to take a ‘wait and see’ approach
By Eric Killelea, August 4, 2015
Williams County Commissioners
Williams County Commissioners – Top Row: Barry Ramberg, Wayne Aberle, Martin Hanson. Bottom Row: David Montgomery, Dan Kalil

WILLISTON —The Williams County Commission on Tuesday refused a proposed 992-acre rail spur and transload facility in Pherrin Township northeast of Williston.

The board voted 3-2 against the facility aimed to set up south of 57th Street Northwest.

“I don’t think it’s necessary,” said Commissioner Martin Hanson, who based his vote to oppose the project on environmental and safety concerns and the township’s recommendation for denial of the project. “I don’t think it’s needed.”

Hanson’s remarks come as state officials report North Dakota produces nearly 1.2 million barrels of crude oil per day, of which about 700 bpd is shipped by rail. State officials want to continue pursuing the build-out of pipelines as another means of transportation, but think rail is still needed to transport crude oil out of state. Rail traffic has increased 233 percent from 2005 to 2012.

Previously speaking on behalf of the applicant, Jordon Evert, of Williston-based Furuseth, Kalil, Olson and Evert Law Firm, said “reputable companies” in the oil patch had shown interest in the project that could accommodate 40 percent natural gas liquids, 50 percent dry goods (frack sand, pipe and perhaps agricultural commodities) and 20 percent oil. Evert said Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway had not formally announced its support, but its representatives had confirmed its interest in the project.

“This facility would be needed,” Evert said during a commission meeting in June. “But these oil companies are afraid, or don’t want to commit to anything in writing until the project is approved.”

Commissioner Dan Kalil was absent during that June meeting when the commission voted 2-2 in deadlock.

He previously abstained from voting on the county planning and zoning commission because his son works for the Furuseth, Kalil, Olson and Evert Law Firm. The commission on Tuesday allowed him to vote on the project after deciding there was no conflict of interest because the outcome would not welcome personal gain.

“Is this the new normal? Is this the new old? Are we going to see a ramp-up in activity?” asked Kalil, who also voted against the project. “Those are the factors going into this and we don’t know these things.”

Commissioner Barry Ramberg agreed with Hanson and Kalil and their thinking the project could be brought to the board in the next several years if the need to transport crude-by-rail continued.

“Time will tell,” said Chair David Montgomery, who joined Commissioner Wayne Aberle in voting in approval of the project.

LATEST DERAILMENT: Tank cars leaking Bakken oil after second derailment in two days

Repost from The Grand Forks Herald
[Editor:  Updated report by the Associated Press / ABC: “35,000 Gallons of Oil Spills After Montana Train Derailment.”  For additional coverage on these and other derailments, see The DOT-111 Reader.  – RS]

UPDATE: Oil tank cars leaking oil after another derailment near North Dakota-Montana border

By Forum News Service on Jul 16, 2015 at 10:10 p.m.

CULBERTSON, Mont. – A train carrying oil derailed in northeast Montana Thursday, hours after the tracks reopened from another train derailment that occurred on Tuesday in the same county.

The westbound train derailed about 6:05 p.m. Mountain Time east of Culbertson, Mont, said BNSF Railway spokesman Matt Jones.

The westbound train contained 106 loaded crude oil tank cars and two buffer cars loaded with sand. Twenty-two cars derailed and two of those remained upright, Jones said.

The other rail cars were still on the track in the desolate area near the North Dakota and Montana border.

Roosevelt County Sheriff Jason Frederick, who said he was expecting another long night, said about that two of the cars were verified as leaking oil, but there were no fires as of about 11 p.m. Central Time.

No injuries have been reported. Local firefighters  and law enforcement officers are at the scene as a precaution, Jones said.

Also as a precaution all of the rural ranch homes within a mile radius of the derailment were evacuated, said Frederick.

Also traffic has been rerouted off of U.S. Highway 2, which is only about  50 yards from the derailed oil tankers, said the sheriff.

Frederick said a hazmat crew from BNSF was on a jet and on its way from Fort Worth, Texas,  to the scene of the derailment.  They had not arrived yet at 11 p.m.

“It’s absolutely going to be a long night,” the sheriff said. “It’s very unfortunate.”

Nine rail cars derailed Tuesday afternoon near Blair, Mont., about 20 miles to the west of the Thursday derailment, said the sheriff.

Both derailments were within about 50 miles of Williston, N.D.

The tracks had reopened about 12:15 p.m. Mountain Time on Thursday after crews repaired 1 mile of damaged track from Tuesday’s accident.

Tuesday’s derailment disrupted Amtrak service between Whitefish, Mont., and Minneapolis, and the sheriff said he expects more delays are likely.