North Dakota accident gives Twin Cities residents a few things to think about.
OIL TRAIN DERAILMENT
North Dakota accident has local implications
Here’s hoping the oil train accident on the North Dakota prairie (“Evacuation ends for N.D. city near crude oil inferno,” Jan. 1) convinces President Obama to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built. Believe it or not, we have eight to 10 of these oil trains passing through the Twin Cities per day.
Granted, you need a 60-mile-per-hour derailment to fracture a rail tank car and create steel sparks from the crash in which to ignite a fire, but it’s also possible that an eastbound oil train traveling at 30 mph through northeast or southeast Minneapolis would have a chance to become a fireball disaster if it were to derail into a westbound train moving at 30 mph on a parallel track.
So the question of building pipelines or forcing oil to market via railroads should now have been answered on the outskirts of Casselton, N.D.
STEPHEN JOHNSON, New Brighton
• • •
The folks who oppose the Southwest light-rail line running through their neighborhoods should take a look at the picture of the huge mushroom cloud over North Dakota after the oil train exploded and derailed.
The privileged and influential few oppose the light-rail project because of noise and aesthetic reasons. Meanwhile, folks living near main freight lines throughout North Dakota, Minnesota and elsewhere face real possibilities of incineration and serious pollution risks.
Light-rail lines and other forms of mass transit reduce that risk by reducing our dependency on the oil that is shipped. This, in addition to providing a link that will reduce emissions and help people gain employment opportunities, means that the Southwest Line should be built for the needs of the many, not stopped by the few.
KIP PELTONIEMI, Minneapolis
That ‘crawl’ is still sufficient for trouble
The Dec. 31 article “Population growth in U.S. slows to a crawl” suggested that a 0.72 percent annual rate of growth is a problem since it takes a “bite out of the economy.” However, at this rate of growth any population will double in exactly 100 years, become four times larger in 200 years and eight times larger in 300 years. The author is correct that the recent rate of population growth is a problem — but because this growth rate is completely unsustainable over any extended period of time.
JIM BOWYER, Shoreview
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.