Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pipeline, close to home

This an editorial I put in our local newspaper.  The pipeline is unstoppable and it is coming within 10 miles of home.

Oil Pipe line near Longville
*Do you know? An Enbridge oil pipe line is coming close to 10 miles from Longville? 
“After a short stretch through Crow Wing County’s Gail Lake and Timothy townships, the pipeline re-enters Cass and runs through Blind Lake, Trelipe, Crooked Lake and Beulah townships before crossing into Aitkin County on its way to Superior.” Enbridge Energy’s ‘Sandpiper Pipeline’ route would run through central Cass County

*Do you know?  “Enbridge is responsible for the largest on-land spill .  .  . the July 2010 rupture of an Enbridge pipeline in Michigan that released 20,000 barrels of crude oil, much of it into the Kalamazoo  River, triggering a record fine and a $1 billion cleanup.“ Article by: DAVID SHAFFER ‘Star Tribune’  September 3, 2013 - 3:19 PM

“The new line would carry 225,000 barrels a day through North Dakota but would then merge with other sources of oil and carry 375,000 barrels a day from Clearbrook to Superior, Little said. That’s 15.75 million gallons of oil each day.”

*Do you know? Crude is a nasty material, very destructive when it spills into the environment, and very toxic when it contacts humans or animals. It’s not even useful for energy, or anything else, until it’s chemically processed, or refined, into suitable products like naphtha, gasoline, heating oil, kerosene, asphaltics, mineral spirits, natural gas liquids, and a host of others.

*Do you know?  “What is the safest way to move it? .  .  . The short answer is .  .  . For the normalized amount of oil spilled, it’s truck worse than pipeline worse than rail worse than boat  (Congressional Research Service).” Pick Your Poison For Crude — Pipeline, Rail, Truck Or Boat

Do you know?  There was a: “Public meetings for the proposed Sandpiper oil pipeline by Enbridge .  .  .  held from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, at Pine River-Backus School.”
The article goes on to say, “Those who are interested in attending may submit oral or written comments. Representatives of Enbridge and the state will be present to answer questions about the pipeline. Topics to be discussed may include alternative route options and environmental impacts.”

*These are some of the questions I asked the Public Utility Commission and to put it bluntly, received no serious response just deflection.
1. Are there significant funds set aside by the pipeline company that will deal with disasters such as massive spills regardless of the financial health of the pipeline company at the time of the disaster?

2. When there is no more oil running in the pipeline in the next decade or so, who is going to maintain the pipeline?  Is there a fund for that?

3.  If the company fails, who is responsible for spills, cleaning, and maintenance?

4. No matter the safety record, accidents, both technical and human error, happen.  What could the damage be of a massive spill or explosion?

Do you know?
Fracking and pipelines are supported by :
  1. Higher oil prices because the techniques of fracking and other extreme measures and location take more and more energy to get less and less oil.
  2. Fracking wells deplete very quickly so that drilling must keep pace with depletion.
  3. Our willingness to use and waste massive amounts of water.
  4. Our willingness to disregard our children and grandchildren’s future by the real possibility that we are making their environment unlivable.
  5. How addicted we are to maintaining our high horse-powered lifestyle - snowmobiles, wave runners, leaf blowers and all the sundry gasoline tools and toys.

Thought you might be curious about what choices we are making.  Well, sort of making.

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