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Oil train shipments in Montana raise concern


April 25, 2014

Rob Chaney, Missoulian

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — With scrutiny growing about the safety of moving crude oil by rail, western Montana residents wonder how increased shipments will be kept safe along sensitive places like the border of Glacier National Park.

The Canadian government on Wednesday ordered the removal of 5,000 oil tank cars believed unsafe for duty, along with a demand to upgrade or remove another 65,000 similar tankers. Transport Canada also imposed speed limits of 50 mph or less in developed areas and near drinking water supplies.

The U.S. government responded Thursday, stating it planned to roll out tougher proposed standards next week, with possible rules adopted this summer. But for some residents along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, more work is needed.

"Parts of the river are feet away from the tracks," said Hilary Hutcheson, a Columbia Falls resident, fishing guide and outdoor media business owner. "I enjoy being on the tracks. There's lots of history...

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