Two environmental groups are asking the U.S. Department of Transportation to immediately ban shipments of volatile crude oil in older railroad tank cars, citing recent explosive accidents and the department's own findings that fiery oil train accidents pose an "imminent hazard."
The petition filed Tuesday by the Sierra Club and Forest Ethics seeks an emergency order within 30 days to prohibit crude from the Northern Plains' Bakken region and elsewhere from being carried in the older tank cars, known as DOT-111s.
Some of those cars pass through the city of Winona and western Wisconsin via the Canadian Pacific and BNSF railroad lines.
Investigators have reported the cars rupture or puncture even in accidents at slow speeds.
The Obama administration has said it will propose a new rule by the end of the month governing tank cars that transport oil and ethanol.
But the petition says that will take too long, and in the meantime the shipments are putting cities along the rail lines at risk.