Oil Pipelines Are Good For The Environment

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Pipeline projects, such as the controversial Keystone XL project that Democrats have been roadblocking for some time now, are often held up due to environmental concerns. But that opposition has unintended consequences. In the absence of pipeline capacity, though, oil producers turn to other less safe methods of transporting their oil like trucks and trains.

That’s not only bad because trucks and trains crash more often than pipelines leak, but also because all those additional trucks and trains are bad for the wildlife. So says a member of a new wildlife partnership created in North Dakota between state, oil industry and conservation groups.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Too few pipelines moving crude to market is the biggest threat to wildlife in western North Dakota’s booming oil patch at present, an industry official said Tuesday.

About half of North Dakota’s record oil production is being shipped by rail and truck because of lack of pipeline infrastructure. Obtaining easements from landowners, acquiring permits and building a sufficient pipeline network “is a huge issue to the state of North Dakota and a huge issue to wildlife,” said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council.

If we want to lower the impact of the oil boom on western ND land and wildlife, if we want to lower the amount of truck traffic on the roads and lower the risk of train derailments, let’s clear the regulatory path to build more pipelines.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Guest

    Yes, let’s steal people’s land through eminent domain to build a pipeline from non-American steal for oil that will not be sold in America.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      A) Not all pipelines take oil to be shipped out of the country. Or refined and shipped out of the country.

      B) It doesn’t matter if the oil does go out of the country. Oil is a global market. Free trade means more competition means lower prices and better quality.

      C) Landowners should be fairly compensated for their property. I’m no supporter of eminent domain abuse, even for the sake of worthy energy infrastructure projects.

      • Guest

        The keystone pipeline oil will go to Europe and Latin America and proceeds from the refineries will be a tax free export. Congrats on rail-roading over landowner rights for a pipeline to South America which will be of marginal benefit to Americans. If the value of the pipeline were great enough, the pipeline builders should be to secure land rights for the pipeline themselves without invoking the government to force land owners to sell property they do not want to part with. “Free trade” and all. How funny that you quickly abandon that when it stand in the way of corporate profits. Derp.

    • JW -Amerian

      I cannot believe how people that don’t understand the international oil markets work feel so compelled to comment on them, I would so much rather see the USA spend its 700 billion per year on oil buying NOrth American oil than ME oil. It may all cost the same, but the folks selling it are much friendlier.

      • Guest

        So your argue others lack understanding oil markets and then favor choosing a product based non-market factors, fascinating. Tell us more about your cognitive dissonance.

  • mikemc1970

    Depends on what you mean by “environment”. If by “environment” you mean what normal human beings mean, then yes it helps to keep our environment clean. If by “environment” you mean what liberal/progressives mean by the word, then no it doesn’t help the international socialist agenda to have America strong and energy independent.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Well said.

  • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

    The Luddites want environmental disasters so that they can use that as an issue to effectively ban the use of fossil fuels and run our economy on unicorn farts.

  • headward

    Pipelines are good for the environment but bad for Warren Buffet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=74603543 Jordan W Green

    I agree that we need more pipelines, But Keystone XL, while it would pass through ND, would never see a drop of ND oil. We need to build pipelines from ND to oil wells to refineries. Is the Keystone XL pipeline all that bad? No, but there’s no benefit other than a few temporary construction jobs to North Dakota. I don’t really care that its being blocked. Enbridge is making much more progress at getting ND Oil to refineries, and they are doing it in much less controversial ways (i.e. following existing right of ways). That’s where our support should be, not Keystone XL.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      That’s not actually true. The Keystone pipeline would provide capacity for about 15 to 20% of oil produced in the Bakken.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    In Gascoyne, ND there are acres of pipe waiting to become the Keystone pipeline. I’ve photographed it. It seems to be physical evidence the company expects to build the pipeline. There are several other sites as well.

    Interestingly, the Bismarck Tribune reported today that another pipeline (from ND to OK) has been canceled because not enough producers promised to use it. I found this quite interesting.

    I really want the traffic off the roads.

  • WOOF
  • John

    Hummm, obviously there are issues with the pipelines. Funny how you harp on the Keystone XL and yet haven’t written a word about the Bakken Express being abandoned due to lack of a committment from oil producers in ND, or the refineries that are balking on the surcharge of $1.45 per barrel to help pay for a pipeline, the “Sandpiper” that they won’t use. Gotta love it.

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