The devastating oil train explosion in Canada, which leveled an entire town and killed at least five people demonstrates how the fight by environmentalists against the Keystone XL Pipeline is misguided, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The oil was being transported by train through Quebec specifically because pipelines which would have transported it more safely have been blocked by environmental groups.
David Blackmon, who is a prominent oil industry consultant in Houston, tells 1200 WOAI news that it is easy to see a similar disastrous oil train explosion in Texas, due largely to the fact that environmental groups are holding up pipeline construction in the name of ‘protecting the environment.’
“We do have incidents in pipeline transportation, but the reality is the safety record in pipeline transportation is far and away superior,” said Blackmon, who heads FTI Consulting, which advises the oil and natural gas industry.
Forty people remain missing following the huge explosion of the oil train in the Canadian town of Lac-Megantic.
Blackmon says the fact is, that if environmental groups were truly concerned about safety and protecting the environment, they would opt for pipeline construction over rail and truck transportation.
“You can have explosions on pipelines, but statistically how often that occurs as opposed to train incidents, it is much much more rare,” Blackmon said.
Valero Energy CEO Bill Klesse told 1200 WOAI news that all of the oil that would be transported by the Keystone XL pipeline is in fact being transported, it is just being transported by train and truck. He said the same situation exists in the northern U.S. and Canada, where oil from the Bakken Shale is being transported by train and truck because environmental groups have blocked the needed pipelines.
“Rail has a very good safety record, and they do take all types of precautions,” Blackmon said. “But there is just no question that pipelines are by far the safest way to move oil and gas around the country.”
Several oil industry groups have charged environmental organizations with using the specter of the Keystone XL pipeline as a ‘looming evil’ which they can use to raise money and mobilize volunteers, while ignoring the obvious safety advantages of pipelines over truck and rail transportation.