Are environmental activists doing more harm than good in delaying pipeline projects? Products have always found a way to market one way or another.
Be careful what you wish for as there is a real factor called “unintended consequences” that emerges every time man tries to tinker with tried and tested methods.
Most people are completely unaware of pipelines running underground because it is a less intrusive method which does not interfere with our daily surface activity.
We bring water to our buildings in underground water main pipes buried deep enough for frost protection. We flush our toilets and underground pipes transport it to sewage treatment. Storm water from our roofs go into underground pipes, then to natural watercourses. Natural gas and electric underground, etc. are all mostly unnoticed.
By contrast, surface transportation of product by rail noticeably affects our lives daily. Because of the enviro-activists protesting all new pipelines, shipping oil by rail has become a real and growing alternative. The cost difference is approximately $3 more per barrel, which is a small obstacle with oil selling at around $85.
Canadian tanker cars carry approximately 650 barrels each with 100 car trains used to deliver 65,000-plus barrels per day to refiners and other terminals all over North America. Rail operators have reported a 30-per-cent increase in oil by rail in the last year, only curtailed by the shortage of tanker cars.
Trains go over all the same streams and rivers that pipelines go under/over and there is even a greater risk of spill by rail.
So now the agitated anti-oil activists are trying to stop “Oil by Rail,” but it’s too late and they couldn’t anyway because of the over 100-year established infrastructure and practice of shipping liquid chemical materials by rail tanker cars.
CN is one of the biggest oil shippers in North America and they are double-tracking to Prince Rupert.
BNSF railroad is shipping 350,000 barrels per day of Bakken and Oil Sands oil, mostly to the Gulf, and wants to increase it to 1 million barrels per day.
“Big Rail” and big-money politics has delayed the Keystone XL Pipeline.