UPDATE 4-Train hauling Canadian oil derails in Minnesota

Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:04pm EDT
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* Cold weather hinders oil clean up

* Derailment fuels crude-rail safety debate

By David Sheppard and Jeffrey Jones

NEW YORK/CALGARY March 27 (Reuters) - A mile-long train hauling oil from Canada derailed, spilling 30,000 gallons of crude in western Minnesota on Wednesday, as debate rages over the environmental risks of transporting tar sands across the border.

The major spill, the first since the start of a boom in North American crude-by-rail transport three years ago, came when 14 cars on a 94-car Canadian Pacific train left the tracks about 150 miles northwest of Minneapolis near the town of Parkers Prairie, the Otter Tail Sheriff's Department said.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd, the country's second-largest railroad, said only one 26,000-gallon tank car had ruptured, adding it was a mixed freight train.

CP spokesman Ed Greenberg said he did not know if the crude was from Canada's tar sands or from conventional oil fields.

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency spokesman Dan Olson said up to three tank cars were ruptured and an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 gallons - or 475 to 715 barrels - leaked out.

Cold weather had made the crude thicker, hindering the ability to recover the oil, Olson said, adding the initial cleanup was expected to continue for a day or two.   Continued...