Hazardous Material Transport Outreach Network (HazMaTON)

Shipping vessel turning in the Port of Duluth-Superior.
Image credit: University of Minnesota Duluth

The Hazardous Material Transport Outreach Network (HazMaTON) is a collaborative of specialists from the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, Hudson River, and St. Lawrence River regions focused on reducing risks associated with multiple modes of oil and other hazardous material transportation. The collaborative is committed to the dissemination of accurate, neutral, and data-driven information through education, outreach, and relationship building in order to improve public safety, the region’s economy, and environmental stewardship of our water resources.

Register for upcoming presentations in HazMaTon's 2022 Summer Webinar Series and view recordings of past presentations. 

Project Details

Project Description

Since 2013, crude oil production in North America has increased dramatically, originating in large part from North Dakota's Bakken Oil Fields and the oil sands of Alberta, Canada. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, United States production is expected to reach record levels in 2023 with 12.4 million domestic barrels produced per day. In the short-term, the U.S. is expected to overtake Australia and Qatar as the number one exporter of gas.

Unrefined and refined petroleum products travel by pipeline, rail, and truck throughout the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, and Lake Champlain regions. As North American production has increased, the capacity for pipeline transport has been outpaced, resulting in a commensurate increase in transport by rail and truck. The need to understand the total costs, relative risks, and opportunities of transportation choices to carefully balance economic development with safety, quality of life, and the security of the environment has been voiced by many. Those many include community groups, economic development organizations, the energy industry, the transportation and supply-chain industry, researchers, non-governmental organizations, and decision-makers in Tribal/First Nations, federal, state/provincial, and local levels.

The goal of the Hazardous Material Transport Outreach Network (HazMaTON) is to provide stakeholders with resources on economic and environmental issues associated with transportation of crude oil in the Great Lakes basin and to create a forum for them to share knowledge, concerns, challenges, and progress.

The Hazardous Material Transport Outreach Network (HazMaTON) project supports Minnesota Sea Grant’s Resilient Communities and Economies and Healthy Coastal Ecosystems focus areas. Project goals include sustaining and protecting water resources to meet existing and emerging needs of the communities, economies, and ecosystems that depend on them. Since 2014, Minnesota Sea Grant has helped to lead what was then called the Great Lakes Crude Oil Transport Team and continues to successfully bring together a binational group of partners. The project team will continue to provide science-based, non-advocacy resources to a target audience with a wide range of interests and perspectives to ensure that unrefined and refined petroleum products are transported safely and sustainably.
What Have We Done Lately?

The Great Lakes Sea Grant Hazardous Material Transport Outreach Network (HazMaTON) has been meeting monthly since November 2021. The project team is currently undertaking a strategic planning process, beginning with the formation of a strategic planning committee. The foundation of these efforts are needs identified through stakeholder workshops and the 2017 Crude Move Symposium.

Participants & Audience

Target audiences of the Hazardous Material Transport Outreach Network (HazMaTON) include binational organizations, community groups, economic development organizations, the energy industry, Tribal/First Nations governments, U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, academic researchers, state/provincial government agencies, supply chain/logistics organizations, and the transportation industry. HazMaTON project participants include staff from Sea Grant programs in Lake Champlain (Vermont), Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

HazMaTON members include representatives from the Council of Canadian Academies, Great Lakes Commission, International Joint Commission, Lake Champlain Basin Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, University at Buffalo, United States Coast+ Guard, and University of Ottawa.

Financial Support

Directors from the eight Great Lakes Sea Grant programs are providing funding for half of the Minnesota Sea Grant Great Lakes Transportation Extension Educator position for 2021-2024 to manage the Hazardous Material Transport Outreach Network (HazMaTON) and provide leadership, coordination, facilitation, and issue scoping.


Program Staff

Head shot of Minnesota Sea Grant Maritime Transport Extension Educator Kelsey Prihoda.
Sea Grant Great Lakes Transportation Extension Educator