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Environmentalist Moms Protest Bakken Oil Trains

A map on Mothers Out Front's website shows Brakken oil train routes passing through Rochester on their way to the Port of Albany.

An environmental group is calling for an end to Bakken oil trains in Fairport.

Mothers Out Front originated in Massachusetts, but they've gained momentum in the Rochester area, specifically because the region is a pass-through for these trains.

Keri Kaminsky is a leader of the group. She says moms play a special role in environmental reform.

"They're doing something just sheerly out of concern for their children, for everybody, for the future."

The US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration reports that Bakken oil may be more flammable than other crude oil because it has a higher concentrations of liquefied natural gas. As a result, the DOT has been working toward making the train cars that carry it safer.

But Kaminsky says that's not enough.

"This kind of combination of inadequate infrastructure, and this particular oil that has a very high tendency to explode as opposed to traditional crude just makes this a very great risk."

Kaminsky says with deteriorating rail lines and bridges, and not enough speed limits on trains, the government's safety regulations will not eliminate risk.

Bakken oil comes from North Dakota, where there are plans to build a Bakken oil pipeline, but until that infrastructure exists the industry is mainly dependent on rail transport. Trains carrying oil have been involved in over 30 crashes since 2013.

Veronica Volk is a senior editor and producer for WXXI News.