Rail Workers Raise Doubts About Safety Culture As Oil Trains Roll On
Crude oil shipments by rail increased by more than 80 percent, nationally, last year. Most of it is coming from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota. That oil can catch fire and explode when trains derail. More than 15 trains of Bakken oil move through the Northwest each week, en route to refineries and terminals in Oregon and Washington. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway transports the majority of that oil. The company regularly touts its commitment to safety. But an EarthFix investigation reveals some troubling patterns in the way BNSF deals with whistleblowers.
BNSF Railway, the second-largest freight network in the U.S., is at the center of the boom in crude by rail. The railroad touts its commitment to safety. Current and former workers question the safety culture on the ground. | credit: Michael Werner | rollover image for more SNOHOMISH, Wash.