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Minnesota : Clean Up Will Be Needed For Winona Oil Spill
Minnesota : Clean Up Will Be Needed For Winona Oil Spill

Minnesota : Clean Up Will Be Needed For Winona Oil Spill

No significant cleanup work is planned after a valve or cap mishap on a Canadian Pacific rail car spilled 12,000 gallons of crude oil between Winona and Red Wing.

According to officials at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the incident was reported at 11:41 a.m. Monday, after crews discovered the leak. The spill involved less than half the contents of a typical tanker car, which holds about 26,000 gallons of liquid.

An MPCA spokesperson told the Associated Press that no major cleanup was planned because the oil was splattered along the rails and track bed. “It’s like spray-painted oil,” she said. But the response could change if officials find larger pools of oil or if oil threatens waters along the tracks.

On Tuesday, MPCA officials were reportedly examining critical areas such as river crossings, looking for any environmental damage or indication of runoff. Minnesota state law requires any fuel spill of 5 gallons or to be reported with the Department of Public Safety.

An MPCA spokesperson said no fines or citations will be issued until an investigation is completed. The train spilled less than half the contents of a tanker car, which can typically hold about 26,000 galls of liquid.

Data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration shows that, during 2013, more than 1.15 million gallons of crude oil was spilled from trains. The data does not include incidents that occurred in Canada, including when a runaway train derailed and exploded, killing 47 people and spilling more than 1.5 million gallons of crude last year.

“The spilling of crude oil is a significant offense that requires a careful investigation of all the facts surrounding the incident,” said Emmie Paulos, an attorney with the Levin, Papantonio law firm who is involved in the BP oil spill litigation. “There are federal environmental laws in place to protect the public and environment, any violation of these laws could result in prosecution of the culpable party.”


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