Letter to the editor 2, Feb. 11, 2015
Pipelines are no safer than rail travel when it comes to transporting toxic substances like tar sands bitumen. Rail could be made safer by regulation, something which governments have also been slow to react to because of pressure and the cost to distributors. We should be debunking this myth that a pipeline is as safe as the pipes that bring us water, not believing in it for the sake of a very narrow minded commodity based approach to the economy. When an oil pipe breaks, it releases substances that kill organic matter perhaps for generations, not just a puddle on the carpet. There is a great effort to make people ignore the fact that in the US since 1994, taxpayers have on average been on the hook for almost $50million a year in property damages due to faulty pipelines.
These figures are for natural gas distribution. Add oil and the price goes up to $95 million a year. Paid for by the public purse in annual subsidies and contingency funds for the privilege of shipping our crude elsewhere and paying a surcharge for its refinement at the pump. Our elected officials would be doing us a disservice not to be speaking out against the pipeline strategy as it exists now and, if anything, there should exist more, not less, regulation of this potentially disastrous method of transporting a toxic substance.