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Editorial: We welcome education train

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Gov. Mark Dayton is moving his oil train safety meetings on down the line. Next stop: Red Wing.

Given the hundreds of tankers carrying crude on up to 50 trains daily that leave the North Dakota oil fields and travel through Goodhue and Wabasha counties, making this one of the meeting sites early on makes sense.

Goodhue County and Red Wing, thanks to the Prairie Island nuclear plant’s presence and requisite emergency response training, may be among the most prepared of Minnesota’s rural counties to deal with a disaster. Or we like to think so.

If you talk with the sheriffs and local chiefs of police, they will tell you they’re not anywhere near ready to handle a disaster like those in Casselton, North Dakota, where an oil train derailed, or in Quebec where fire and explosions consumed a historic downtown. They — and citizens — need to be direct with the governor.

The meeting series gained the nickname “Bakken Awareness 101” after the first meeting held Monday in Little Canada, Minnesota. We look forward to the next class — this one 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Red Wing Public Library. Goodhue County, Wabasha County and Red Wing authorities will talk with Dayton and state commissioners about emergency preparedness, what they have, what they need and how the state can help.

Open Meeting Law notifications from local governments note that a quorum of City Council and County Board members may be present. We hope a “quorum” of citizens shows, too, because this meeting is important.

Everyone has a lot to learn. And we need to do it quickly.

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