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Excerpts from recent North Dakota editorials

New diesel refinery an asset to state

The Bismarck Tribune, Bismarck, July 2, 2015

Economic development in the state advanced further in April, when Dakota Prairie Refinery went online. The refinery is the first greenfield, meaning new from top to bottom, built in the U.S. since 1976.

The refinery is important to the state for a number of reasons. It creates additional support for North Dakota’s energy industry by utilizing crude oil produced in the Williston Basin. Further, it ties directly to another important segment of the state’s economy — agriculture — by producing diesel fuel farmers and ranchers rely on in their operations.

Beyond those key reasons, it equates to more good quality job opportunities in the Dickinson area for both existing residents and those new to the area. Expanding the employment base in any community, especially when it correlates to jobs that are stable and pay well, is a good scenario.

Dakota Prairie Refinery is a solid example of value-added energy development in the state. Capable of processing 20,000 barrels of Bakken oil each day, the plant produces 7,000 barrels of diesel and other by-products, including approximately 6,500 barrels of naphtha and 6,000 barrels of atmospheric bottoms that will be shipped by rail to other facilities for further processing or use.

Situated on a 318-acre site four miles west of Dickinson and south of Interstate 94, the cost to construct the plant was around $425 million. The capital commitment alone demonstrates the commitment partners WBI Energy Inc., part of the MDU Resources Group family of companies, and Calumet Specialty Products Partners have for the project.

While the amount of oil processed represents less than 2 percent of the total amount currently produced in the Bakken, it’s still significant in a number of ways. The plant, operating around the clock, seven days a week, means 80 permanent, full-time jobs in the state.

Calumet’s board chairman, Fred Fehsenfeld, said that while it was great to reach the finish line at Dakota Prairie in terms of construction, people should look for more to come. “This was our first investment in North Dakota, but it won’t be our last. This is the beginning,” he said.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple said in a series of occasions for big projects of late, the refinery is “clearly one of the biggest. Diesel fuel is our favorite product of all in North Dakota.”

The plant was designed with environmental stewardship in mind to the extent possible, utilizing modern emission-control technology and putting to use recycled wastewater from Dickinson’s newly constructed wastewater treatment plant.

While Dakota Prairie Refinery certainly isn’t the first value-added venture in the state, it is now a part of what hopefully will be a growing list of new, value-added facilities in North Dakota. When it makes sense, new facilities located within the state’s borders and capable of converting North Dakota resources into finished product will only broaden what is already a rich and diverse economic base.

Remember our forefathers who called for change

The Daily News, Wahpeton, June 29, 2015

This week, Americans will raise their eyes to the sky as colorful flashes of color light up the night. As we celebrate the Fourth of July, it is important to remember why this is a holiday in the first place.

A brief history of the first stirrings for change began when our forefathers took up the battle cry among America’s 13 colonies, “Taxation without representation!” Colonists were forced to pay taxes to England’s King George III without having representation on the British Parliament. The young country was filled with people who were becoming more and more dissatisfied with Great Britain and repeated attempts to resolve the crisis without military conflict didn’t work.

On June 11, 1775 the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and formed a committee that would formally sever ties with Great Britain. Some famous and patriotic names were on this committee: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. Jefferson drafted the original draft document that was officially adopted July 4, 1776.

The following day, copies of the Declaration of Independence were distributed, a document that continues to serve as America’s symbol of liberty.

From the War of 1812 cherished stories continue to be told in our present time, from the midnight ride of Paul Revere to America’s final fight over British troops. Our history is as relevant as our future and something to remember as another symbol of the United States flashes through the night. Like the bombs bursting in air from our past, fireworks have become an acceptable representation of our independence.

“May it be to the world, what I believe it will be … the signal of arousing men to burst the chains … and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form, which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. …For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”

— Thomas Jefferson

June 24, 1826 Monticello

The Twin Towns will be celebrating the Fourth of July with a huge fireworks display at dusk at Chahinkapa Park. Sit alongside your fellow neighbors, ooh and aah over the beautiful rockets, but remember the men and women who originally took up the cry to secure our freedom.

Highest alert for the Fourth

Minot Daily News, Minot, July 2, 2015

If preventing a terrorist attack in the United States is a matter of connecting the dots, Americans have plenty to fear with the Independence Day holiday just days away. Deadly “dots” have appeared in at least six other countries during the past few days.

Dozens were killed in bomb attacks in Chad and Kuwait. A gunman massacred more, including British tourists, at a Tunisian beach. Egypt’s state prosecutor died in a bomb attack. French police arrested a man with ties to Islamic extremists after he beheaded another man. Pakistani authorities killed four terrorists and arrested two after raiding a cache of weapons meant for use in an attack.

This is far too many “dots” to be a coincidence. Clearly, terrorist leaders are urging their followers to ramp up the level of brutality worldwide. Both organized extremist cells and “lone wolf” sympathizers are being urged to act.

It would be wishful thinking to believe Americans, both here and abroad, are not on the target list. A successful attack on July 4 would have propaganda value for the terrorists.

U.S. officials should be on the highest alert, then — to break the chain of “dots” before it reaches us. A lackadaisical attitude such as that which allowed the Sept. 11, 2012, assault on our diplomatic compound in Benghazi to succeed could have truly catastrophic results.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.