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BNSF manager is new inspector for ND rail safety program

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota’s Public Service Commission has hired a BNSF Railway manager as a track inspector for the state’s new rail safety program.

Karl Carson starts the $90,000-a-year job next week. He has worked for BNSF since 2004.

BNSF is the biggest shipper of crude out of western North Dakota’s oil patch. The railroad has been involved in two fiery oil train derailments in North Dakota in recent years.

Some are critical of the hire, saying it has the appearance of a conflict of interest.

PSC Chairwoman Julie Fedorchak says it’s tough to find inspectors in North Dakota with as much experience as Carson. She says he’s committed to doing a good job as an inspector.

Carson did not return messages left for him at the PSC.

In related news, BNSF railroad adds new safety rules for crude oil trains.

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