A pair of lawmakers say Minnesota needs to beef up its ability to respond to oil spills.
Representative Frank Hornstein and Senator Scott Dibble, both Minneapolis Democrats, say recent accidents in North Dakota and Canada point up the risks to Minnesotans of the boom in crude oil shipments by trains from North Dakota.
Against the backdrop of a large rail yard in St. Paul Wednesday, Hornstein outlined a bill they plan to introduce at the start of the upcoming session.
Their proposal would impose a fee of one-one-hundredth of one cent per gallon of crude oil transported across Minnesota by rail or pipeline. They say the money would be used to help state and local authorities with planning and training to ensure that Minnesota communities are safe.
Hazardous materials travel by rail through Winona neighborhoods almost every day and the city is cut inhalf by the train tracks.