Methinks thou doth protest too much

Friday, September 16, 2016

While America's journalists daily recount the emotions of the ongoing protest by Indians and others of the Dakota Access Pipeline's (DAPL) potential for contamination of our waterways and/or sacred grounds, the elephant in the room goes unnoticed.

And that elephant is the cold, hard fact that the current and most popular mode of transporting crude oil - railroad tankers - is a far more dangerous and foreboding hazard to mankind than a properly laid pipeline underground out of harm's way.

Today an estimated one million barrels of Bakken crude oil are moved out of North Dakota by rail each and every day. That's the equivalent of nearly 13 crude oil unit trains each day at 100 tanker cars per train. Those trains, like ticking time bombs, roll through NW Iowa and the heart of Sioux City and other towns several times a day.

Simply stated, it's far more dangerous to transport crude oil by rail than by pipeline. The last Bakken crude oil train derailment and resultant explosion along the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon was caused by two broken bolts where two rails joined. The track had been inspected shortly before the fiery train wreck by certified track maintenance workers who failed to detect the problem.

Our underground nearly everywhere is lined with infrastructure of gas and ammonia pipelines, water and sewer lines, electrical cables and conduits, and oil pipelines. Every safeguard known to man is deployed in planning and laying today's pipelines and other infrastructure.

If such protests persist and such beneficial projects halted based on emotions and fear mongering, in the future it will be next to impossible to develop any form of energy infrastructure like an interstate electric power line, a crude oil pipeline, a city sewer line, or even a four-lane highway.

Perhaps we should all shut up and be grateful for the energy infrastructure we do have and, hopefully, what was built more than 80 years ago, will last until the end of time.