Proposed new pipeline: Both pipelines, trains too risky for tarsands oil

Repost from The Leader-Post, Regina, Saskatchewan
[Editor:  See also, Huffington Post: “Nearly 300 Pipeline Spills In North Dakota Have Gone Unreported To The Public Since January 2012.”  – RS]

Pipelines, trains risky for oil

By Florence Stratton, April 24, 2015

TransCanada is promoting Energy East (April 20 commentary), a pipeline that will cut through Harbour Landing in Regina.

Using an old natural gas pipeline for the Saskatchewan portion, Energy East will transport 175 million litres of tarsands oil per day from Alberta to Eastern Canada, mainly for export.

TransCanada claims its pipelines are safe, but in its initial year of operation, TransCanada’s first Keystone pipeline, constructed in 2010, had 12 spills, including one that dumped 79,493 litres of oil in North Dakota. [Editor: See Wall Street Journal report.  Also ClimateProgress.]

Energy East is especially risky. The Saskatchewan section of the pipeline is 43 years old and was constructed to carry natural gas, not tarsands oil, a thicker substance requiring higher pumping pressure.

Should Energy East be approved, the question is not if, but when there will be pipeline leaks and spills. What happened in North Dakota could happen right in Regina.

TransCanada also claims that pipeline transport of oil is safer than rail transport. In truth, both are safety hazards.

Moreover, both modes of transport facilitate the expansion of tarsands production, an environmental hazard. Indeed, climate scientists warn that, if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we must leave at least 80 per cent of tarsands oil in the ground.

Citizen safety, health, and welfare must take precedence over corporate profit.

Regina should follow the good example of Toronto and ban the transport of tarsands oil through our city by rail or pipeline.

Florence Stratton, Regina