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Minnesota legislators hope state can benefit from ND's oil boom

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A proposed study would look at how Minnesota can use North Dakota's oil boom for its own benefit.

North Dakota was second in the nation in oil production in 2013, behind Texas, according to FiveThirtyEight. Oil production has quintupled in North Dakota in recent years, FiveThirtyEight says, which has generated more than $12 billion in economic activity for the state, according to the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Now, legislators want to figure out how Minnesota can benefit. A bill in both the House and Senate (HF 3254, SF 2850) is calling for a $150,000 study to examine the effects of the boom and how the state can position itself to take advantage of its neighbor's oil production.

Sen. Kent Eken, DFL-Twin Valley, is a sponsor of the bill. He has emphasized Minnesota's need "to turn our proximity to North Dakota from a challenge into an opportunity," according to the Associated Press.

Although the bill's focus will be to benefit Minnesota, it will also purportedly address the negative effects of North Dakota's oil boom. Rail safety has been a major concern as of late because numerous trains carrying crude oil travel through Minnesota daily, including the Twin Cities. State lawmakers have called for an increase in rail safety oversight as a result.

Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, said the study should also address the effects that human use of fossil fuels is having on climate change. No panel members have objected to the study, the Associated Press says.

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