- Associated Press - Saturday, July 5, 2014

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - One of North Dakota’s two U.S. senators is urging the United States Postal Service to keep a mail processing facility open in Minot to help handle the rapid population increases that have come with the state’s oil boom.

U.S. Republican Rep. John Hoeven said this week that it’s crucial the Minot Area Mail Processing facility stay open. The USPS announced Monday that it planned to close as many as 82 mail processing facilities, including the Minot facility, by 2015 in an effort to increase efficiency.

The Postal Service has struggled to keep up with tremendous growth in oil patch communities in recent years as tens of thousands have moved to the area for work and residents have said they’re frustrated by long lines and late deliveries. Recently a second Postal Office opened in Williston.

“While identifying cost savings are crucial to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the Postal Service, it makes no sense to close facilities in rapidly growing parts of the country, like Minot and western North Dakota,” Hoeven said in a news release.

Hoeven spoke with USPS Vice President of Operations Drew Aliperto this week and said Aliperto promised to reevaluate the Minot processing facility further before taking action.

In 2011, the USPS began studying more than 250 mail processing facilities nationwide that could be consolidated or permanently closed. In February, after consolidating 141 facilities, the USPS announced it would hold off on further action for the remaining facilities. Hoeven said spoke up after hearing of Monday’s announcement to resume consolidating and closing facilities.

“The Postal Service needs to consider North Dakota’s strong economic and population growth not only now but in the future when making a decision on the Minot facility,” he said.

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