Good Story from the Great Falls Tribune on the lack of equipment and personnel to respond to oil train accidents.

Nearly 20 percent of the state’s population, 183,047, live in evacuation zones (one-half mile) for an oil train derailment along 3,368 miles of track, the audit noted. It stated that included 47 hospitals/medical centers, 169 fire stations and 353 schools.

From 2010-2014, Montana ranked 21st in the U.S. for train incidents with 177 reported during that time period. Total damages were $43.3 million and cost per incident was $246,100. The largest number of incidents (6-10) were in Yellowstone County, according the the state audit.

The transport of oil grew substantially from 2008 to 2014, the audit noted. In 2008, there were 9,500 carloads of crude oil. In 2013, there were 407,761 and in the first half of 2014 there were 229,798. Even though the oil boom has eased, the audit notes the oil shipments are above the 2008 numbers.

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