by: the Common Constitutionalist
Last Saturday a section of oil pipeline ruptured in Montana releasing an estimated 50,000 gallons of oil. That’s equivalent to about 1190 barrels.
The Bridger companies Poplar pipeline that runs through eastern Montana has been transporting oil from the Bakken shale formation since 2010.
Last weekend’s spill made headlines and the environmentalists are on the war path. The reports are that the spill in the Yellowstone River has caused an environmental disaster. Bottled water has been trucked in to surrounding communities due to “elevated volatile compounds” found in a sample taken at the Glendive Montana water treatment plant.
Interestingly, Reuters reports that “Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control, who tested the sample, said that they ‘do not see that domestic use of this water poses a short-term public health hazard.’”
Okay, so there’s no short-term hazard. What about long-term, one may ask? Well, there won’t be a long-term – it will be cleaned up before there is a long-term.
But the spill has cemented in the minds of environmentalists that all pipelines are bad and by extension the Keystone XL pipeline must not be constructed. Wilderutopia.com writes in a post entitled “Climate Haywire, Pipelines Bursting, Time to Stop the Keystone XL” that “A rupture of the planned Keystone XL pipeline could release up to 6.9 million gallons into the very same Yellowstone River, a nightmare scenario far out stripping the present spill…”
That’s scenario was one of four produced by an “environmental engineer”, who no doubt is a reasonable sort and not an environazi.
So if pipelines shouldn’t be used to transport oil, what should? How about just continuing to utilize the rail system. You know – the rail lines owned and operated by Obama buddy Warren Buffett. Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway operates 32,500 miles of track in 28 states and Canada.
BNSF transports about 500,000 barrels of oil per day. And unlike pipelines that rupture and spilled tens of thousands of gallons of oil, the rail transport system is much safer – except when it isn’t.
“On December 30, 2013 a BNSF Railway train carrying Bakken crude derailed in North Dakota,” reported Mediatrackers.
“The ensuing fire and explosion engulfed 10 oil tanker cars, sent flames over 100 feet in the air, and spilled 400,000 gallons of oil.” That’s nearly 10 times greater than the Montana pipeline spill.
The Manhattan Institute found that rail shipments were three times more likely than pipelines to suffer spill or fire. Despite the overwhelming press coverage of pipeline spills, railroad incidents are a lot more prevalent, including serious injuries and fatalities of workers, not to mention that railroad transport adds between $10 and $15 to each barrel of oil, compared to about five dollars per barrel for pipeline transport.
But despite all the facts regarding safety and economy, this latest pipeline event will just add more fuel (pardon the pun) to the fire of anti-Keystone activists, including Obama.