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The Wall Street Journal has a story on issues surrounding the "virtual pipeline," and it's hard to know where to begin sorting out what's what. The easy part is defining our terms: a virtual pipeline is the mile-long, or longer, hookup of railroad tanker cars that carry oil from places like North Dakota to refineries throughout the country. The issue in the Journal piece is that the oil trains aren't bound by the same safety regimen as traditional pipelines, and that their routes are often state


Transporting oil is a dangerous business. Don't believe us? Then check out this huge fireball that resulted from the derailment of a mile-long train loaded down with crude. According to reports there were no injures from this inferno near Casselton, ND, but the smoke did lead the town to evacuate.


According to the Associated Press, certain gravel roads in western North Dakota use erionite, a mineral that is mined in the Killdeer mountains. Erionite forms wool-like fribrous masses among rock formations and has properties similar to asbestos. Scientists suspect that, like asbestos, erionite collects in the lungs in those fibrous masses, a factor that could lead to lung cancer in people who have long-term exposure to it.


North Dakota state rep. Lisa Wolf (D-Minot) has sponsored, with bipartisan support, an "emergency measure" in the legislature that if passed, could save ND car buyers some pretty decent money. The proposed legislation would eliminate the state's motor vehicle sales, excise, and use taxes on new rides purchased before June 30, 2010. Oh, yeah: there's a significant catch -- the tax break would only apply to vehicles from the Detroit 3. Tax breaks as a stimulus? No-brainer. But in this case, it's p


Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota says that we could soon be producing too much ethanol for our own use. The U.S. is currently using 140 billion gallons of gasoline a year. According to North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner, there could be an oversupply of ethanol by 2010.


As usual with politicians, it’s best to take a skeptical look at any rosy-eyed announcement of brighter tomorrows. Still, Senator Kent Conrad’s (D-ND) plan, annoyingly named the Breaking Our Long-term Dependence (BOLD) Energy Act, has a lot going for it.

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