I want to thank North Dakota officials, including Gov. Jack Dalrymple and the members of the Industrial and Public Service commissions, for the progress we've made in improving safety of oil pipelines in our state. Their idea for creating a state-run pipeline integrity program is a good one, and they have requested additional funding to add pipeline inspectors and enhance railroad track inspections as well.

The state also has permitted three new pipelines that ultimately will let us take all the oil we currently ship by rail and move it via pipelines. Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota and President Barack Obama should encourage additional pipeline construction rather than obstructing it, because pipelines can solve the railroad safety and congestion problem that they like to blame us for.

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Let's not forget that North Dakota has done a good job addressing issues while promoting safe, effective rules that protect the public with sensible regulation that doesn't cripple the oil industry.

In only seven years, our state has put into place some of the most effective rules in the country. We were first to require casing to have five layers of steel and concrete that protects our water sources from leaks. We have stringent cleanup rules that don't stop progress, but require that accidents be cleaned and the land returned to agriculture.

During the current legislative session, we have continued this progress. State-run safety and pipeline integrity programs are a more effective solution than options the federal government has provided. Heavy-handed, top-down government simply does not work. Officials here in North Dakota have put a much better process in place.

Vern Jacobson

Bottineau, N.D.