As oil booms in North Dakota, questions of rail safety linger

BY Stephen Fee  May 10, 2014 at 11:00 AM EST

Over the past decade, oil production in the state of North Dakota has increased nearly tenfold. The state’s oil boom has meant huge budget surpluses and robust economic growth, and crude production is reaching nearly a million barrels each day.

But amid the boom, some logistic issues remain. As North Dakota is far from traditional pipeline infrastructure, 70 percent of the oil leaves the state by rail.

After a series of fiery derailments over the past year — including a deadly incident in Quebec last summer — regulators and policy makers are asking questions about the safety of oil by rail.

In our report this Sunday, we take you to Casselton, North Dakota, where a derailment last December has shaken residents and city leaders, and we explore the regulatory and other issues surrounding the oil by rail boom.

For context, I spoke with the Wall Street Journal’s senior energy reporter Russell Gold. He’s the author of “The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World.”