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Winona Daily News – U.S. Sen. Al Franken: Making rail safety a top priority in Winona and Minnesota

Minnesotans have always known how important safe, reliable rail service is to our state’s economy. Farmers and businesses have come to depend upon rail as an indispensable method of moving Minnesota products across the state and to markets around the world.

But in recent years, the large railroad companies have quickly ramped up the number of rail cars carrying highly volatile and flammable Bakken crude oil from North Dakota through Minnesota to refineries in other states.

While this change has meant more profits for the railroads, it’s also taken up room on trains normally used by our agriculture shippers, and it’s forced temporary shutdowns at Minnesota coal-fired power plants when backlogged rail service left utilities unable to replenish coal stockpiles.

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