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Pipelines are preferable

Pipelines are preferable

Now that there’s been three derailments and subsequent fires involving crude oil tank cars the push has turned to building safer tank cars. Whether you use thicker steel or double wall tanks the added cost of manufacture and transport are both double negatives.

Much of the oil coming from North Dakota is transported through the Twin Cities and south along both sides of the Mississippi River. There are numerous areas that are remote since the tracks go through backwaters and low-lying areas which are virtually inaccessible. If there were a spill in these areas the only way in would be by track or by air. In other areas these tracks pass within a few feet of the river channel. A spill in these areas would dump crude oil directly into the river. Containment would be a nightmare.

These tracks also go through every town along the way. A previous writer referred to these trains as bomb trains.

Few, if any fire departments are equipped for spills or fires of this magnitude.

There’s a simple reason why the oil companies have historically used pipelines — it’s cheaper, plus as a safety bonus they don’t go through the center of every city or town.

An industry insider on one of the cable channels said the transport of crude oil by tank car costs $15 per barrel more than by pipeline. A recent TV newscast reported that the Minnesota Legislature is planning on funding special training for fire departments to deal with crude oil tank cars. The estimated cost is $15 to $30 million per year.

The state department has just OK’d the Keystone pipeline. There is only one person standing in the way of the pipeline being built. Something to think about the next time you fill up.

Joseph Bruhn


Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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