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Keystone Pipeline in the news, again
Trump is undoing Obama's halt on construction of the XL pipeline expansion. At first I had the typical liberal bias against this project but after watching a documentary on rail disasters I have second thoughts.
For starters some basic facts. Much of this pipeline is already installed and working, the brouhaha is over adding a shortcut from the same place to expand and shorten the route. This pipeline system is owned by a Canadian company, (TransCanada) not a US company, and is use to ship oil from the North to US Refineries for processing into fuels etc.
Like it or not the oil will move South for the foreseeable future. Whether we put it in a continuous pipe or rely on trains the transportation of crude is part of our lives until we learn to use alternative sources of energy. Until that happens, these are the only two choices.
Oil Trains transport where pipes don't go.
Sign indicating presence of pipe line below ground
Look at the photos above. On the left is a "pipeline on wheels" while at the left is what you see with a buried line.
While both choices are bad on one account or another, after seeing the aftermath of a horrible disaster that wiped out the center of a Canadian town, leaving 42 people dead, no one can doubt the dangers of moving crude by rail through our towns and cities. At least a line under ground cannot plow into a city and burn down it's entire down town area as happened to Lac-Mégantic in Canada.. 1
We cannot count on our political leaders to make good choices as long as they are so heavily influenced by corporate greed. Sometimes in the sort term you take the lesser of two evils. Accidents on rails can be very greatly reduced by implementing Automatic Train Control. Congress mandated this after the terrible commuter crash in California, only to keep postponing it at the request of the industry. More crashes have resulted in more deaths while waiting.
At the same time Republicans in Congress wanted to force Obama to make a decision on the pipeline in 60 days. It is very obvious who Congress works for since both decisions are to enhance private profits, one to delay an expensive project that could prevent rail disasters, the other to force a decision to get a new pipeline buried under American soil for a foreign company. (Who, by the way, is technically prohibited from trying to influence our elected officials)
Regulations are there to protect actual people not corporations, but the Republicans in Congress are more concerned with protecting profit than lives and are willing to trash protections for us in order to protect the bank accounts of their patrons.
There is ONLY one way to finally get a government that actually believes they work for us, kick out everyone and start over. And repeat as necessary.
For now, perhaps a pipeline is a safer alternative than rail.