I was horrified to see not only one but two major train derailments recently.

In southern Minnesota, 28 train cars derailed spilling nearly 40,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid. This incident now requires the efforts of the EPA and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to monitor the soil and water for potential contamination.

In addition, the one in Iowa had the potential to turn deadly, when 47 cars went off the tracks carrying hazardous material resulting in a massive fire and huge amounts of black smoke. Because of the dangerous situation that resulted from this derailment, the entire town where the crash occurred had to be evacuated.

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Now, consider if those trains were carrying oil and the incredible risk that would pose to families and our environment.

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I understand that pipeline opponents want to shut down the Line 3 pipeline replacement project because they want to do away with oil, but we can’t put the cart before the horse here.

The truth is, we need oil. We depend on oil, and until that changes, it is critical we maintain our nation’s oil pipelines as they are simply the safest way to transport oil.

With the replacement of Line 3, capacity will greatly increase allowing more oil to be taken off trains traveling throughout our communities, and more oil will be transported via pipeline than currently possible. This should be something we can all get behind.

Craig Gaasvig, Bemidji, is a Beltrami County Commissioner for District 1.

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