Beach, ND May Soon Be Home to Oil Railport - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Beach, ND May Soon Be Home to Oil Railport

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A new oil rail port could be built in North Dakota, just one mile west of Beach.

Right now the land is zoned commercial, so the Zoning Board is holding a public hearing tonight before they decide whether or not to change it to industrial.

If approved, the new facility would transport and store Bakken crude, and some members of the community aren't happy about it.

This 260 acres of land one mile west of town has been purchased by Beach Railport and Williston Basin Development.

The zoning board is hearing from the community here in city hall before they decide whether or not they will re-zone the land.

Economic Developer Deb Walworth says the facility will create more jobs for people in town and will help them "thrive rather than just exist."

But some members of the community don't agree.

"I think the jobs argument is something that made sense 20 years ago. We are living in western North Dakota. We don't have any problem creating jobs out here," Jerry DeMartin of Beach said.

DeMartin says Bakken crude is highly explosive and that a facility like this shouldn't be anywhere near town.

"We're supposed to be comfortable with this. This is not just a train load that's passing through town. This is Bakken crude that's going to be stored here in above ground tanks.. 200,000 barrels of this stuff and we probably have multiple tanks," he said.

Tom Marman is on the zoning board and says the new facility wouldn't impose anymore of a threat than they already face.

"When you think about the explosion down in Casselton, there are no oil ports there. I mean this thing can happen any place... I don't think it's any greater threat than what we have right now," Marman said.

In fact, he thinks the facility would help the community.

"The pro part of it is the soil has stimulated a lot of economy of course for this end of the state and we've had a lot of local kids who have moved back home and I think that's really nice to have jobs for them and things like that in this community," Marman said.

The Zoning Board will decide if they are going to re-zone the land in 3 weeks.

The City Council will make the final decision on moving forward with this facility after they hear the Zoning Board's recommendation.

Beach Railport is owned by Jack Andrews and Williston Basin Development is owned by Drew Hall.

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