How Safe Are Our Pipelines?

We’ve covered this issue more than once in this blog, namely the issue of how well our natural gas pipelines are being maintained (See the Sept. 23, 2010 & the Sept. 21, 2010 blog posts).

A new report issued last week by a coalition of US environmental groups claims that the pipelines owned and operated by Alberta’s energy industry might not be as safe as they are purported to be. The issue apparently is that the pipeline in question is supposed to carry bitumen which is a tar sand sludge from Alberta down to Texas (note the fact that it covers pretty much the whole height of the United States and only a small section of Canada) in order to refine the mixture further than it already is. In this “marginally refined slug” are a lot of impurities and heavy metals as well as sand. The report is claiming that this mixture is far more corrosive than the Alberta Energy industry believes it is and that, as a result it is going to slowly erode the pipelines putting a large section of the United States at risk.

To make matters worse, many are claiming that we don’t even need all the oil that we are buying from Canada. It’s really an economic issue having to do with trade issues between Canada and the US. There are alternate forms of energy we can use if we are willing to cut down on the amount of oil we import.

The Alberta energy industry, needless to say, claims that the report is exaggerated and inaccurate… no surprise there!

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