Pipeline vs. Rail Argument a Trojan Horse for Oil Industry

Steve Horn and Justin Mikulka recently published the following piece on how oil pipelines haven’t reduced the usage of oil trains, which have been explained as more dangerous and more apt to spill than pipelines, according to oil industry talking points.

Here is an excerpt from the story:

While true that fewer oil trains translate to lower risks of derailment and accompanying oil train explosions, moving through pipelines also means higher risks of large oil spills. Contrary to industry talking points, the reality is that pipelines spill more oil than oil trains.

Overall, oil spills [occur] more frequently with pipelines than rail cars, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials [Safety] Administration (PHMSA),” Reuters has reported. “For example, in 2015, there were 252 pipeline spills reported to PHMSA involving crude oil, versus 44 for the rail industry. The year prior, the frequency of spills at pipes was about 62 percent greater than rail, the data shows.”

Another reality: the pipeline vs. rail dichotomy has morphed into an industry Trojan horse used to cloak the use of both modes of fossil fuel infrastructure. The industry, in short, will continue to use both modes of transportation moving forward. The drilling rig count and production numbers have already increased in the Bakken shale region since President Donald Trump signed off on Dakota Access, according to Reuters.

One of Dakota Access’ repeated arguments is that the pipeline will reduce shipments of oil by rail, which it claims is a more dangerous and expensive way to transport oil,” the Iowa Sierra Club wrote in a 2014 regulatory filing as the pipeline was being proposed in Iowa. “However, Dakota Access presented no evidence to substantiate the argument that the pipeline will reduce shipments of oil by rail.”

Read the full article at DeSmogBlog.

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