Letter: BNSF good for S.D.?

Farm Forum

These three BNSF trains carrying crude oil through South Dakota originate in the Bakken oil fields and travel to Willmar, Minn. From Willmar these trains travel on the main track of the BNSF, a distance of 222 miles to Sioux City, Iowa. These crude oil trains are in South Dakota for a distance of 12.7 miles.

Consider this: BNSF operates in 28 states and two Canadian providences. BNSF claims 900 miles of track ownership in our state.

BNSF operates three trains per week containing 1 million gallons of crude per train from Willmar to Sioux City, returning the empties over the same route.

There are 81 multiple grain loading facilities in South Dakota most served by BNSF. There is one coal-fired power plant that in one year burns 65,000 cars of Powder River basin coal also served by BNSF. There are 15 ethanol plants in South Dakota mostly served by BNSF. All of these facilities require a smooth flow of empties and loads to be competitive.

There are BNSF stockholders who expect a fair return for their investment.

One final note, the northern main line formally owned by the Milwaukee railroad is now owned and operated by BNSF and has moved 10 million revenue tons of freight per mile of track for the last several years.

This is a short list of what BNSF must ponder daily for South Dakota, 27 other states and two Canadian providences.

Some say crude oil out of the Bakken oil field should move by pipeline to the refinery.

Some say you can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time. Some also say that BNSF has been good for South Dakota or that South Dakota has been good for BNSF.

What do you and your readers say?

George C. Nikolas