Originally Posted by Fedaykin
You're still not thinking about the bigger issue. Pipelines (as they are currently used) are an ecological nightmare compared to rail shipping.
* Pipeline breaks can release orders of magnitude more contaminants into the environment simply because the ability to constrain the leak from a break is much less than with discrete shipping units.
* Small leaks (which always exist) in a pipeline are hard to detect, and can do enormous amounts of damage over time -- particularly to wetlands (even with a relatively small leak). Moreover, companies that run pipelines don't give a flying **** about any leak unless it's more expensive to let the leak happen than to fix it. This is one reason why companies refuse to install leak detectors. It's not just the expense of the detectors -- it's that they don't care about the leaks unless it affects their bottom line so they don't want to detect them, and any leak likely to affect their bottom line is relatively easy to detect using non technological means.
Like I said, when a train derails, it something that's immediately apparent, not concealable and a blocker issue that can't simply be ignored.
Case in point, the most recent spill (by Enbridge again) was only discovered when executives spotted it from the air while on an unrelated flight over the area. The spill would have been detected if the company had decided to go with the detection methods urged (but not required) by the US government for construction.
Obama was smart to just say no.