BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — At least 10 times in the last six years, freight trains hauling oil across North America have derailed and spilled significant quantities of crude -- and most have touched off fires or catastrophic explosions.
The derailments released a total of almost three million gallons of oil, and the deadliest wreck killed nearly 50 people last year in the town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec.
Those findings are from an Associated Press review of U.S. and Canadian accident records. They underscore a lesser-known danger of America's oil boom, which is changing the global energy balance but raising urgent safety questions closer to home.
Adding to the danger is the unusually high volatility of the light, sweet crude from the fast-growing Bakken oil patch in Montana and North Dakota, where many of the oil-hauling trains originate.
©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.