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.
That's a valid point. And I think a lot more needs to be done to monitor pipelines. But at least you know what that pipeline does and where it does it. Train oil goes everywhere. And rolls through communities all over at leisure.
You're right that the possible scale of concentrated ecological disaster is less with trains. But from an efficiency, emissions and lives standpoint, pipelines are safer. Unfortunately, our policy makers do little to try to balance any of that. They assume stopping a pipeline means stopping the oil.