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Rep. Mark S. Owens, Published December 17 2013

Letter: Evidence clear: North Dakota needs more pipelines for oil

Welcome to North Dakota, the second-largest oil-producing state: low unemployment and jobs we can’t fill, budget surpluses, fastest-growing personal wealth, and an expanding business and personal economy.

All fueled by oil. We also have a well-established coal industry, and growing natural gas and wind power industries, all of which contribute to this growth. But it has been oil that has caused this “rapid” growth, and getting it to market is costing North Dakota some of its benefits.

Currently, we transport oil across all three options: trains, trucks and pipelines. No different than traveling by trains, planes and automobiles, there are advantages and disadvantages of each.

Trains transport goods across the country, moving very large volumes daily with little problems. However, every time they are loaded, unloaded or become involved in an accident, there is a chance of major injury to people, property and our environment.

Trucks provide the same services, however, these same problems are compounded during an accident due to the likelihood of travel along any route. Additionally, the damage caused by these vehicles to our roadways require the repeated repair and reconstruction, taking funds away from other infrastructure projects such as wastewater systems, housing and expanding the education system for our kids’ future.

Pipeline transportation of oil represents both the safest and most cost effective for North Dakota. Load once at a control point and movement is restricted along a known path.

With proper local controls and regulation of pipeline construction and recurring inspection, we can relieve the demands on our roads that are causing the state to build, rebuild and reduce the danger of the volume of trucks that threaten our family and friends, and a number of many other economic advantages that are too numerous to list here.

The evidence is clear: We need more pipelines. We need the Enbridge Sandpiper project, for oil and natural gas, for roads, for new housing, and most of all for the safety and the benefit of the people of North Dakota.

Owens, R-Grand Forks, represents District 17 in the North Dakota House.