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Letter: Beach must deny zoning application for transloading facility

At a time when cities all across North America are jittery at having even a single train-load of Bakken crude pass within their borders, the city of Beach is facing the grim prospect of having massive quantities of this chemically volatile oil on its very doorstep, all day, every day, long into the future.

This is what would happen if the zoning board and then city council approve a proposed 270-acre transloading facility to be built just west of the fairgrounds. The proposed construction site is only three-tenths of a mile from the nearest residential neighborhood and would be in full view of homes along 1st Street Southwest.

The facility will be noisy, brightly lit and operate on a 24-7 basis. The din of rumbling trucks, straining locomotives, and clanking oil rail cars will be ceaseless. It would not only transfer Bakken crude from truck to rail, but would store it on-site in massive 200,000-barrel, above-ground tanks.

Just how many of these storage tanks will be built is unknown, as is the name of the company who would actually operate the facility.

Most frightfully, the entire population of Beach would be downwind from this industrial complex and vulnerable not only to accidental releases of harmful chemicals, but catastrophic explosions of the type that occurred in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, and Casselton.

This project is ill-conceived, and dangerous. A facility like this belongs nowhere near a population center. The zoning application now before the city of Beach must be denied and the full-throated voice of an outraged community must be heard loud and clear.

Jerry DeMartin,