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Safest option for Bakken oil: pipelines

These arguments seem to arise more than ever.A conglomeration of farmers wants to start a dairy operation in a rural county, but is met with strong opposition by neighbors concerned about noise and odor. But if not in a rural area, where?An energ...

These arguments seem to arise more than ever.
A conglomeration of farmers wants to start a dairy operation in a rural county, but is met with strong opposition by neighbors concerned about noise and odor. But if not in a rural area, where?
An energy company considers a wind farm on a string of lonesome hills, but the project is met with protests by bird lovers and those who fear the panoramic view will be spoiled.
But if not on those lonesome hills, where?
Another company considers a solar farm deep in the deserts of the arid Southwest, but is slowed by concerns about its effect on wildlife. But if not out in that remote desert, where?
And one more company wants to build an underground pipeline to transport oil - the lifeblood of America’s economy - but is consistently met with protests and governmental hurdles.
Again, we ask: If not underground (where thousands upon thousands of miles of pipelines already exist), where?
The Herald is just as concerned about odor, water quality, panoramic views, migrating birds and desert tortoises as most everyone else, but we also consider ourselves realists. We know oil causes environmental woes, but we’re also convinced that until the cold laws of economics dictate otherwise, oil will be burned. It’s that simple.
So, as Enbridge continues its quest to sink the Sandpiper oil pipeline between the Bakken oil fields and the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minn., and Superior, Wis., we continue to question why the process is taking so long.
As noted elsewhere on this page, the project is stuck in a government morass.
It’s time to approve the Sandpiper.
If pipelines aren’t built, other infrastructure is pinched. Railroads must then haul the oil, which forces grains and other commodities into trucks and onto highways. That eventually means more dollars out of the pocket of Americans, who’ll have to pay more for that delivery and also to repair the roads that inevitably will be destroyed by the heavier traffic.
Pipelines are not new. Enbridge alone has some 15,000 miles of pipelines now in use; and according to the American Petroleum Institute, there are more than 190,000 miles of liquid petroleum pipelines already beneath U.S. soil.
The Sandpiper line should be added to that total.
Why?
Because North Dakota oil always will get to market, and because oil pipelines are not at all unique.
But mostly, the pipeline deserves approval because there is a place for everything - and the best place to transport oil is underground.

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Free market principles should be allowed to play out.