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U.S. House candidate Sinner says he supports new oil pipelines

George Sinner

Monday’s natural gas pipeline explosion and fire near Warren, Minn., has not swayed U.S. House candidate George Sinner’s resolve that more pipelines are necessary to transport the nation’s oil and gas.

Rather, it further demonstrates the need for enhanced safety measures, which could provide more opportunities for the burgeoning unmanned aircraft systems industry in the Grand Forks region, he said.

“It’s another example that the UAS can be used to monitor these pipelines and monitor for leaks,” he said.

A Democratic state senator and Fargo banker, Sinner is challenging Kevin Cramer, a Republican incumbent in his freshman term, in November for North Dakota’s lone congressional seat.

Sinner visited with about two dozen people Wednesday at a “Sit Down with Sinner” event at O’ for Heaven’s Cakes N’ More in the Grand Cities Mall.

“UAS can sense anything that’s going on with their sensors. We could probably catch some of those problems ahead of time,” he said. “I think it’s another example of why UAS is going to be a booming industry in Grand Forks.”

Sinner said he supports the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, with the caveat that it carry more than 100,000 barrels of North Dakota oil — about 10 percent of the state’s current production — from the Bakken Formation.

His opponent, Cramer, and the state’s two senators are also Keystone XL supporters. That puts Sinner and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., at odds with the Obama administration, which has delayed approval of the project.

The pipeline would cross a corner of southwestern North Dakota on its route from Alberta to refineries in the Gulf Coast region of the U.S.

Sinner said he also supports the planned Sandpiper Pipeline project, which would move about 275,000 barrels of oil from the Bakken along U.S. Highway 2, past Grand Forks, to Clearbrook, Minn., and beyond.

“I understand the implications in lake country,” he said. “If I had a place on a lake over there, I’d be concerned about the environment, so they’ve got to be careful so that all of those concerns are addressed ahead of time. But pipelines have to be the long-term solution to this problem.”

Increasing pipeline capacity would provide a long-term solution to the lack of rail transportation capacity facing farmers in North Dakota and the Northern Plains, he said.

Sinner also talked about other issues, including residential and commercial real estate prices, the Affordable Care Act and the recently passed Farm Bill, adding that it was congressional gridlock that shut down the federal government for several days last fall.

Kevin Bonham

Kevin Bonham covers regional news, mostly from northeast North Dakota, for the Grand Forks Herald. A North Dakota native who grew up in Mandan and Dickinson, he has been a reporter or an editor with the Herald and Forum Communications for more than 30 years. Find his articles at: He welcomes story ideas via email,, or by phone, (701) 780-1110.  

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