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Published March 03 2014

Forum editorial: Oil danger regulation wins roses

PRAIRIE ROSES: To the U.S. Department of Transportation for ordering that Bakken crude oil shipped by rail out of North Dakota must be tested for volatility before being loading onto the tracks. The order comes after several explosions of Bakken crude oil trains, one just west of Fargo near Casselton, N.D., in late December. The order also was prompted by recognition that Bakken crude is highly volatile, and as such was reclassified by another federal agency as a hazardous material. The USDOT order is another indication that regulators, who have been either slow or reluctant to get tougher with oil-by-rail transportation, are getting serious about rail safety as it relates to shipping crude oil. It’s a start. There’s more to go. But it should send a strong message that sensible regulation is not a four-letter word.

PRAIRIE ROSES: To the University of North Dakota for forming a committee to study privacy issues raised by the escalating use of drone aircraft by law enforcement and other agencies of government. Policies governing drones are fuzzy at best. Attempts to impose legal privacy protection from drone use in North Dakota have had little success. But the potentially invasive technology is advancing and improving. The threat to personal privacy cannot be minimized. The possibility of misuse of the technology, however justified, cannot be ignored. So a pat on the back to UND’s UAS Research and Compliance Committee for taking on what could be one of the most important rights issues facing Americans.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.