Reader's View: Figures hide the damage pipeline spills cause
I had to write in response after reading the Nov. 2 Opinion page item headlined, "Pipelines are good: Enbridge CEO offers exclusive insights," which featured statements by Enbridge CEO and President Al Monaco.
I had to write in response after reading the Nov. 2 Opinion page item headlined, “Pipelines are good: Enbridge CEO offers exclusive insights,” which featured statements by Enbridge CEO and President Al Monaco.
Monaco described how the company works with environmentalists and concerned community members by saying, “It’s what’s best for the project (and) what’s best for the communities so we protect the environment. That’s what our goal is.”
Monaco also stated that moving oil via pipelines is “generally safe.” But how safe is safe enough? Since 1986, according to the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration via the Center for Biological Diversity, pipeline accidents in the U.S. spilled an average of 76,000 barrels per year, or more than 3 million gallons. That’s roughly 200 barrels spilled in the U.S. every day for nearly
I applied Monaco’s stated 99.9993 percent success rate to another form of transportation. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were nearly 8,462,000 domestic-only, commercial passenger flights in the U.S. in 2013. If the commercial aviation industry flew at a success rate of 99.9993 percent, there would be 59 crashes in the U.S. each year. Would you travel by air if there was a crash in the U.S. every six or seven days?
Pipelines and air travel are important modes of transportation, one for a commodity and the other for human beings. Unlike air travel, oil pipelines do not have that immediate, imminent death factor when failure occurs. But, like air travel, failures can be catastrophic. And both modes have regulation or permitting that our government deems necessary.
Monaco said the right things during the interview with the News Tribune Opinion page. But how can the company reduce spills and improve? How can it become as reliable as the commercial aviation industry?
Dan Huculak Cloquet