Hennepin County, Minnesota is buying a chunk of land in the city of Crystal, population 22,588, in a bid to block oil trains from North Dakota’s Bakken formation from travelling through the heart of Minneapolis.
BNSF and Canadian Pacific railways have hatched a plan to direct the mile-long trains along Theodore Wirth Park and across Nicollet Island on the Mississippi River, at the edge of downtown Minneapolis. “The county’s goal in acquiring the land would be to prevent the railroads from using their substantial federal powers to take property,” the Star Tribune reports. Local County Board Member Mike Opat “ believes the county’s purpose in acquiring the property—public safety—would supersede the railroads’ authority.”
Twin Cities businessman Daniel Justesen, who is reconsidering a multi-million-dollar deal due to the risk of more heavy freight traffic, called the county decision “a fabulously positive development, should they be able to pull it off. If they can keep that a nice, quiet railroad on that track, this moves me forward on my business. You’ve certainly brightened my day.” (h/t to Midwest Energy News for pointing us to this story)