Committee hears concerns about Bakken crude transportation in Milwaukee

One section of the train tracks where Bakken crude comes through Milwaukee is at 1st & Oregon St. in Milwaukee's Fifth Ward. The large tanks roll along those railroad lines right past apartments and condominiums in Milwaukee.

People living near the area in the Fifth Ward, Third Ward, and Walkers Point neighborhood expressed concerns about the potential for disaster. Alderman Bob Bauman asked the Milwaukee Fire Department to present at the Public Works Committee meeting Wednesday about how they respond to spills. The fire department trains for train derailments and any possible spills - including Bakken crude.

They said they are working to get more funding for foam suppression in the future.

Milwaukee Emergency Management director Steven Fronk says they have plans in place for any potential evacuations but there's always more that can be done. Concerned residents testified in front of the committee as well. Many said even though railroads are not controlled at the city level - the city can help shape the debate.

\"We have and will continue to make all necessary preparations to deal with whatever it is that could take place,\" Fronk said.

\"Statistically it sounds like it's really good records for the railroads if there's only a couple accidents a year,\" Julie Enslow, an environmental activist, said. \"It only takes one accident to kill a lot of people. There's no room for error in this area.\"

There will be another hearing April 29. That's when state railroad representatives are supposed to be present.

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