Pipelines Are Dangerous — Here is the Evidence

by Duane Nichols on November 18, 2014

Shall we pray for Keystone XL or a safe USA?

Senate defeats Keystone XL pipeline

From an Article by Susan Davis, USA Today, November 18

Washington, DC — The U.S. Senate defeated a bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, delivering a blow to Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., by members of her own party.

“I came here 18 years ago fighting to get here, fighting to stay here,” Landrieu told reporters after the vote, “And I’m going to fight for the people of my state until the day that I leave. I hope that will not be soon.”

The bill failed to overcome a 60-vote threshold for passage by a narrow 59-41 decision. All 45 Republican senators voted for it, but Landrieu could not clinch the necessary last Democratic vote.

Thirteen Democrats voted with Landrieu, including outgoing Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and John Walsh of Montana. Additional Democratic votes came from Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tom Carper of Delaware, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, and Mark Warner of Virginia.


New Analysis Reveals Dangerous Toll of U.S. Pipelines

From an Article by Bill Snape, Center for Biological Diversity, November 17, 2014

Washington, DC – With the U.S. Senate poised to vote on the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday, a new analysis of federal records reveals the dangerous toll of pipelines in the United States. In just the past year and four months, there have been 372 oil and gas pipeline leaks, spills and other incidents, leading to 20 deaths, 117 injuries and more than $256 million in damages.

The new data adds to a June 1, 2013 independent analysis of federal records revealing that since 1986, oil and gas pipeline incidents have resulted in 532 deaths, more than 2,400 injuries and more than $7.5 billion in damages.

A new time-lapse video includes every “significant pipeline” incident in the continental United States — along with their human and financial costs — from 1986 to Oct. 1, 2014. On average one significant pipeline incident occurs in the country every 30 hours, according to the data.

“There’s no way to get around the fact that oil and gas pipelines are dangerous and have exacted a devastating toll on people and wildlife. It’s appalling to see Congress seriously considering giving the green light to Keystone XL,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Obama administration’s own analysis says Keystone XL will spill oil, so it’s really troubling to see politicians wanting to add to this dangerous legacy of failed pipelines.”

The analysis comes as the State Department considers the Keystone XL pipeline — which would transport up to 35 million gallons of tar sands oil a day from Canada to Texas — that federal officials have already estimated could spill up to 100 times during its lifetime.

The analysis released today examines pipeline incidents since 1986, including spills, leaks, ruptures and explosions. It’s based on records from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which maintains a database of all U.S. pipeline incidents that are classified as “significant,” those resulting in death or injury, damages more than $50,000, more than 5 barrels of highly volatile substances or 50 barrels of other liquid released, or where the liquid exploded or burned. In total there have been more than 8,700 significant incidents with U.S. pipelines, involving death, injury, and economic and environmental damage, since 1986 — more than 300 per year.

“This analysis ought to be a wakeup call to anyone who thinks it’s smart to double-down on these dangerous pipelines,” said Snape. “Voting for Keystone XL is voting for more spills, more environmental devastation and more climate chaos. It’s as simple as that.”

One difference between Keystone XL and the vast majority of other pipelines that have spilled is that it will be carrying tar sands oil, which has proven very difficult, if not impossible, to clean up. A 2010 spill of tar sands oil in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, for example, has yet to be cleaned up despite four years of effort. Another tar sands spill in 2013 fouled an entire neighborhood in Arkansas. Federal regulators have acknowledged that Keystone XL, too, will spill.

TransCanada’s existing Keystone I tar sands pipeline has reportedly leaked at least 14 times since it went into operation in June 2010, including one spill of 24,000 gallons. The State Department’s environmental reviews have pointed out that spills from Keystone XL are likely to occur, estimating that there could be as many as about 100 spills over the course of the pipeline’s lifespan. The pipeline will cross 1,700 miles and cross a number of important rivers, including the Yellowstone and Platte, as well as thousands of smaller rivers and streams.

See also:  www.FrackCheckWV.net

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

David Stover November 20, 2014 at 12:43 pm

David Bugs Stover wrote:

Is it not at least interesting that you chose a photograph of two senators from two different energy producing states both of whom support the pipeline?


Editor -- FrackCheckWV November 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Re: Pipelines Are Dangerous — Here is the Evidence

Good point, David. That is interesting. It’s a complex issue, given the size of these pipeline projects and the disruption to land owners, to stream beds, to steep terrain, plus accident risks.

The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continues at a high rate,
too high for the Earth to accommodate. Oil from tar sands is a big offender, called “dirty oil”, as with the extremely large XL pipeline.

Thank you for your studies on these issues. Duane Nichols


Editorial on Manchin's Vote November 20, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Manchin’s vote on the pipeline, Editorial, Morgantown Dominion Post, November 19, 2014

The “red wave” midterm signaled many big changes. Apparently including a green light to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline.

It doesn’t come as any surprise that our state’s two GOP House members are willing to prioritize this project. They have voted numerous times to do so. Matter of fact, House Republicans are probably more willing to sacrifice the environment and promote eminent domain for private gain than ever, now.

But we are disgusted that some Democrats, including our own Sen. Joe Manchin, appear to only want to be on whichever side is winning. Of course, politics makes for strange bedfellows. But it also makes for strange opponents, too.
Which helps describe who the lead sponsors of the recent Keystone XL legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate are. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La. — the chief sponsors — are facing a December 6 runoff election vote for Landrieu’s seat. Sounds like politics, as usual.

However, we have to draw the line at Manchin co-sponsoring a similar Keystone XL pipeline bill this year and being Landrieu’s No. 1 cheerleader. Holding the line in the “war on coal” or facilitating the production of natural gas is one thing, but rallying to allow Canada to build and expand a pipeline across America’s heartland to the Gulf of Mexico for export is another.

It’s true that the U.S. State Department’s report on the Keystone XL pipeline noted that the controversial tar sands oil in Canada would be extracted and processed whether this pipeline is authorized by Congress or not. However, that report also noted that though this pipeline will create thousands of temporary jobs during its two-year construction period, once it’s in service, it will support only about 50 U.S. jobs.

But politics and jobs aside, the environmental threats that surround tar sand oil are all too clear. They range from the extraction and separation process to produce tar sand oil to the potential for spills and leaks, to its corrosive effects and the fact that the carbon emissions released from burning this unconventional oil are far greater than conventional oil.

These bills come on the heels of a recent election, when at least every candidate we met appeared to be a proponent of clean-coal research. At the very same time, these candidates argued that any reduction of carbon emissions would only amount to paltry declines, since the worst offenders do not restrict emissions at all.

So, why not help to sell them an even more devastating form of energy to pollute the world’s air? After all, we’ve always put the coal industry’s profits before our land and water. Why not do the same for the oil industry?


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