WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal inspection teams are headed to the booming Bakken (BAH-kehn) oil region in Great Plains states to see if rail shipments of crude oil meet safety regulations.
The inspections are dubbed the "Bakken blitz." U.S. officials announced them at a rail safety meeting Thursday.
Inspections were prompted by last month's rail disaster in the lakeside Quebec town of Lac-Megantic (lak may-gahn-TEEK'), near the Maine border. An unattended train carrying oil from the Bakken region came loose and derailed, sending tank cars into the center of the town, where they exploded. Forty-seven people were killed and much of the town was destroyed.
Officials were surprised by the disaster because they thought the type of oil being transported had a "flashpoint" making it unlikely to ignite.
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