Archive for the ‘Environmentalism’ Category

Ignoring Reality   Leave a comment

This is Brad. Lela will be back, I promise.

So Sunday was Earth Day and I hardly noticed, but my lovely wife started this post and then asked me if I would finish it for her.

Do you remember all the apocalyptic predictions from the 1970s? They were the reasons given for a day of the year to worship nature as a pagan goddess.

During the first Earth Day observance (that actually lasted for a couple of months:

Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15-30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

“Man must stop polluting and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possibly extinction” New York Times editorial

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

Texas University professor, Peter Gunter wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out. (Note: According to the most recent CDC report, life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years).

Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

National Academy of Sciences Harrison Brown published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.”

Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

Wow, lots of fear-mongering. Have any of those predictions come true?

As the opening chart shows, the United States has “decarbonized” over the last decade or two. CO2 emissions have risen throughout most of the rest of the world, but the US’s emissions have fallen dramatically. Did the Earth Day movement have anything to do with that? Not really. It’s mostly because of hydraulic fracking and substitution of natural gas for coal as a electric generation fuel source.

Ronald Baily of Reason Magazine (who pulled together much of this awesome list) asked in on Earth Day 2000 (Earth Day 30):

“What will the Earth look like when Earth Day 60 rolls around in 2030?”

He predicted a much cleaner, much richer future world, with less hunger and malnutrition, less poverty and longer life spans, and with lower mineral and metal prices. But he also warned:

“There will be a disportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future – and the present — never looked so bleak.”

The hype and hysteria over these spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions will continue, because it’s been such a wonderful con and has reaped such lovely benefits for the environmentalists. Why would they want the gravy train to end by acknowledging reality?

What Rampant Environmentalism Gets Wrong   Leave a comment

I oppose the killing of animals for their ivory, but I also oppose stupidity. Alaskan Natives eat walruses, which are not an endangered species. They use the whole animal and make beautiful scrimshaw pieces from the ivory.

Image result for image of shed walrus tusk on beachMoreover, walrus break their tusks in fighting with other males. If you visit a recently vacated walrus beach, you will find several tusks just lying there in the sand. The Inupiats gather them up and use them in their art work.

http://www.wpxi.com/news/business/senator-to-etsy-let-alaska-native-artists-sell-ivory-work/695383158

Environmentalists are so irrational that they can’t see the difference between African elephant ivory and any other kind of ivory. They believe, foolishly, that the only way to stop the African trade, which involves the horrific death of elephants and the meat isn’t even harvested, is to ban all ivory world-wide.

It bothers me that people in Africa – hunters and artists – can’t make a living off of a traditional material, but African elephants are legitimately endangered and I’m told their meat is not exactly tasty, so yeah — find another way to make a living.

But Arctic walrus aren’t endangered and their meat is part of the traditional lifestyle of the Alaska Eskimo peoples. It is a waste of a resource to throw away the ivory. It would be like me harvesting a moose and refusing to let my dog have the bones or not giving the rack to an artist to do something with it. Plus, most of the ivory is collected rather than killed which makes it a great deal like the rack of a caribou (who shed their horns yearly and these are used in Alaska art by both Natives and non-Natives).

This is just plain stupid and I don’t blame my friends in the coastal villages for being upset. Etsy needs to set aside the rampant environmentalism and look at the reality of the situation.

Peril of Perfectionism   4 comments

Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good. That’s an old saying that has never been truer than today.

Environmental activists tend to be perfectionists. They want air quality to be completely free of all pollutants. That sounds like a worthy goal until you realize that it is unachievable.

Image result for image of container ship

Seriously. If we want to have warm homes, be able to travel and make things for consumption, we have to burn fossil fuels to power things. Currently, renewables make up less than 10% of the energy available and that’s with massive government investment well above the return on the dollar. Fossil fuels may be replaced someday by nuclear electric powering hydrogen fuel cells, but we’re nowhere near that dream right now.

And, then there are the forest fires. I woke up to completely natural air quality contamination on Sunday morning, but that’s another topic for another day.

While some activists want to eliminate all fossil fuels use in the name of air quality, it is not possible without major disruption to our quality of life, jobs and economy. That’s the “perfect” getting in the way of the good.

The United States has made major environmental improvements over the last 40 years. That’s a net good for all Americans and we certainly don’t want to backslide now, but many environmentalists refuse to see the good that has already been done and to recognize that clearing the air completely is not possible.

Consider this example of positive change. Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE) hauls more than 35% of all goods consumed in Alaska. That makes them a vital part of the Alaska economy. When they lost a barge in a storm last winter, our grocery store shelves looked pretty barren for the next month while they strove to replace the lost stock. If they failed to sail at all, Alaskans would go hungry.

In 2012, TOTE announced plans to convert its maritime fleet to operate on cleaner-burning liquefied natural gas (LNG). The fuel switch on its East Coast ships operating in the Caribbean is complete. Now, TOTE Alaska Maritime is focusing on the transition of its vessels operating between Tacoma and Anchorage.

In 2014, TOTE inked an agreement with Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Washington’s largest supplier of electricity and natural gas, to furnish LNG for its ships, but now its LNG conversion has hit a roadblock.

Activists are attempting to block construction of PSE’s $300 million LNG plant on Tacoma’s Tide Flats. If they succeed, they will put Washington’s ports at a competitive disadvantage with Los Angeles and Vancouver, B.C., ports which are currently adding LNG facilities.

“By switching from diesel to LNG, maritime vessels at the port will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions into Tacoma’s air by more than 30 percent and dangerous particulate (smoke) emissions by more than 90 percent,” Puget Sound Energy Vice President Andy Wappler pointed out in The News Tribune in Tacoma.

The Environmental Protection Agency calculated there are 23 million people with port-related jobs and seaports account for 26% of the U.S. economy. There are an additional 39 million Americans who live in proximity to ports.

LNG processing reduces greenhouses gases and eliminates other air contaminants. During conversion from natural gas to LNG, CO2 and other pollutants are removed. LNG is simply the same natural gas many Americans use in our homes and businesses, only purified and refrigerated to minus 260 degrees, where it turns into a liquid. It is not explosive or even particularly flammable in its liquid state.

When warmed, it’s the same fuel folks use in their stoves and furnaces, and requires the same safety precautions. LNG storage tanks are not pressurized, so cannot blow up if there is a breach.

The tank PSE plans to install in Tacoma is “designed to withstand a once-in-every-2,450-year earthquake (compared to our highway bridges, which are designed to a 1,000-year-earthquake standard),” Wappler contends.

PSE’s new facility doesn’t just benefit TOTE and other shippers. Wappler figures it will save its natural gas customers between $50 million and $100 million over 10 years compared to the cost of increasing pipeline capacity into the region.

There is one other environmental benefit. TOTE’s relationship with Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling brings tons of recycled material to Tacoma for processing.

Grace Greene, TOTE’s Alaska general manager, told Alaska Business Monthly magazine there are other partners who contribute to the project, “but we’re probably one of the top three contributors, to the tune of more than $1 million every year.” Recycling has never really taken off in Alasaka because of the cost of shipping refuse to the Lower 48 for processing. TOTE is improving that situation and perhaps reducing the amount of trash Alaskan landfills collect.

As with everything humans do or build there are associated risks, but total risk avoidance is impossible. Why strive for the perfect and reject the good getting better?

Interior Department Takes Step to Rollback Regulatory Overreach   Leave a comment

Amidst the angst-ridden media attention paid to President Donald Trump’s efforts to carry out his campaign promises to deemphasize the speculative dangers of climate change and focus federal efforts on the real problems people face today — including energy and jobs — the Interior Department (DOI) under new Secretary Ryan Zinke has quietly gone about implementing Trump’s vision.

Image result for image of environmental regulatory overreachDOI acted quickly to reduce federal interference with state wildlife management and energy development decisions and scale back the regulatory burden on energy production.

On his last day as director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), January 19th, Dan Ashe issued a directive to phase out the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on the 307 million acres of federal land controlled by the agency.

Professional wildlife managers within FWS and their partners in state wildlife agencies were taken aback by the order. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), which represents the 50 states’ fish and wildlife agencies, issued a press statement expressing “utter dismay” over the FWS action.

“The Association views this Order as a breach of trust and deeply disappointing given that it was a complete surprise and there was no current dialogue or input from state fish and wildlife agencies prior to issuance,” AFWA President Nick Wiley said in the statement

In an interview I conducted with John Jackson III, president of Conservation Force, Jackson said Ashe’s last-minute action was a “payoff” to radical environmentalists.

Continued at Source: Amidst the angst-ridden media attention paid to President Donald Trump’s efforts to carry out his campaign promises to deemphasize the speculative dangers of climate change and focus federal efforts on the real problems people face today — inc…

Crude Alaska story   Leave a comment

Image result for image of northslope oilA leaking, Alaska oil well that sprayed some crude and then spewed gas for days on the North Slope of the Brooks Range has been shut down, and the world can rest easy.Aside from generating some more bad press for London-based British Petroleum, this accident will likely slide into history as just one of the thousands of minor spills and leaks in the U.S. this year.Given that the amount of oil was small – the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation describes it as  “an initial spray of crude oil that impacted the well pad” – it will disappear into time once the catastrophe of this happening in the pristine wilds of that great American national park called Alaska passes.Welcome to America’s odd relationship with oil, and the even stranger world of 21st Century news where certain narratives are expected to be followed, agendas color so much, and the easy often trumps the important.First and foremost, an oil spill is easy. It is the car crash of environmental news. Of nightly television news, it was once said “if it bleeds, it leads.” Of internet news today, it might be said that “if its spill, it kills.”Or at least that is the case if the spill happens to be in pristine Alaska. Elsewhere? Who cares.

But in Alaska, hostile yet vulnerable Alaska, the place in which every true environmentalist knows oil should never have been tapped to begin with….Ugly messesThe oil spill at BPXA Drill Site 2, Well 3, shouldn’t have happened. No oil spill should. Not this one. Not any one of the 20 or so that can be expected somewhere else in the American oil patch today.  Not the one involving some kid changing oil in his car in the driveway of a home in middle America, or the fisherman doing the same in an Alaska port and spilling some overboard.Few if any of the latter spills, however, make the news, or if they do it is only in passing. No journalists consider those stories worthy of the spotlight.Even a gas blowout with a spray of oil that, as the Alaska Environmental Conservation reports,”did not leave the pad” would fail to make much news in the California, Louisiana, North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma or other oil patches.When Propublica took a look at North Dakota’s Bakken oil field in 2012, it found “more than 1,000 accidental releases of oil, drilling wastewater or other fluids in 2011….Many more illicit releases went unreported, state regulators acknowledge, when companies dumped truckloads of toxic fluid along the road or drained waste pits illegally.“State officials say most of the releases are small. But in several cases, spills turned out to be far larger than initially thought, totaling millions of gallons. Releases of brine, which is often laced with carcinogenic chemicals and heavy metals, have wiped out aquatic life in streams and wetlands and sterilized farmland. The effects on land can last for years, or even decades.”Almost none of these spills had been reported by the media. The extent of leaks and spills, in fact, went unknown to the public until Propublica started poking around.Alaska’s Arctic, thankfully, does not have this problem. That is the upside of keeping even small spills in the spotlight in Alaska. The downside is that suggestion of another disaster in that hostile polar region where humans really don’t belong reinforces the misperception that operating in Alaska is somehow more difficult and more dangerous than operating elsewhere in the world.The reality is Alaska has a pretty good record for producing oil while minimizing oil spillage. It is a record good enough that the state didn’t even warrant a dot on the National Resources Defense Council’s “Spill Tracker” in 2015.Nonetheless, the BPXA blowout made news around the world. Spills in Alaska are simply treated differently than those of the rest of the world.“BP Struggles to Control Damaged Well in Alaskan Arctic,” the New York Times headlined, predictably pointing out the frigid temperatures and noting that the well was leaking “methane gas, a powerful greenhouse gas linked to climate change.

”Danger versus danger

Read the rest of the article at Crude Alaska story

Obama’s Parting Shots Explains Why Trump Won   1 comment

I didn’t vote for Trump, but I’ve said that had someone put a gun to my head and required me to vote for either Trump or Clinton, I would have voted for Trump. My reasons are myriad:

  • Before Obamacare started bankrupting Americans, it was called Hillarycare, showing that Hillary has as poor understanding of economics as Obama does.
  • In her book Tough Choices Hillary proudly proclaimed her role in starting the Libyan war, increasing tensions in the Ukraine, exacerbating terrorists in Yemen, expanding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and lamented that Obama flinched on her advice of what to do about Syria. I have an 18-year-old son and a 24-year-old daughter who are both now eligible for the draft. There was no way I was voting for that warmonger.
  • I don’t believe in dynastic rule and “I was the First Lady” is not a qualification for any job other than perhaps wedding planner.
  • She promised 4-8 more years of Obama’s economic policies. I sort of like eating and having a roof over my head and I don’t think the economy can stand another decade of economic lunacy.

But mainly I voted against Hillary because she was Obama’s successor and Obama’s policies have not been good for me because I live in Alaska, which Obama wants to designate as a snow globe.

Image result for image of alaska snow globeThere is this law from way back in the Teddy Roosevelt administration called the Antiquities Act. It was used by President Carter to lock up million of acres of Alaska and parts of the west. Now Obama made use of it again, banning the economic use of an additional 1.7 million acres in Utah, where the federal government controls 61% of the state’s land. (This one new lock-up is nearly equal to Delaware and Rhode Island combined.)

The withdrawal was on top of 320 million acres in national park, preserve, wildlife refuge, wilderness and other restrictive land use categories—plus “buffer zones” around many of those areas—nearly all of it in the eleven westernmost states and Alaska. That’s equivalent to virtually all the land in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

With yet another last-minute regulation, the Obama Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) designated the rusty patched bumblebee (RPB) an endangered species, because its populations have declined significantly in recent years. It did so in response to a petition and a sue-and-settle lawsuit by the activist Xerces Society, which originally claimed the decline was due to “low population dynamics,” habitat loss, and a nasty parasitic fungal infection that spread to RPBs from commercially raised bees imported from Europe.

Xerces and the FWS inexplicably revised their rationales, arguing that most of the blame should be attributed to pesticides, specifically neonicotinoids—the advanced technology, reduced-risk pesticides that farmers love and radical environmentalists have been trying to ban for years. In another nod to green extremists, the agency also blamed herbicides like RoundUp, saying the weeds they kill in farmers’ fields and along highways are important food sources for RPBs.

These sorts of “friendly” sue-and-settle lawsuits between pressure groups and regulators have been a hallmark of the Obama Administration, making those of us who don’t trust these organizations suspect carefully plotted collusion.

These always rare bumblebees make their nests in the ground. That means any activities that disturb the soil could impact them: road, pipeline, transmission line (for wind, solar or conventional power), housing and other construction projects, and even plowing fields for crops.

In its rush to beat the January 20 noon deadline, the FWS failed to publish any “survey protocols” for finding RPB nests and avoiding damage to them. All of this means farmers, developers and even homeowners are in murky legal waters and could face fines if they inadvertently harm any nests or bees.

Vast areas are affected. Rusty patched bumblebees were once found from the Dakotas through the Midwest, down to Kentucky and the Carolinas and northward to Maine. Xerces claims the bees have been “sighted” since 2000 in 13 states—including many major corn and soybean producing states, as well as the Upper- and Mid-Atlantic seaboard states.

Having that huge swath of the USA in legal jeopardy—and subject to review, control, delay and penalty by the FWS—is bad enough. But the agency is also pondering endangered status for two more bee species.

The yellow-banded bumblebee has been found all the way from Montana east to New England, and down the Atlantic coast to Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. The western bumblebee’s range includes the entire block of eleven western states plus Alaska: more than a billion acres—nearly half of the entire United States!

Put them together, and the Fish & Wildlife Service would regulate nearly three-fourths of the USA. The bumblebee listings would be the highest impact designations in Endangered Species Act (ESA) history—and would rival the EPA’s CO2 endangerment rule, Clean Power Plan and Waters of the US power grab.

Folks in Eastern and Midwestern states have no idea what it is like to have federal bureaucrats controlling 30-87% of lands within their borders, and affecting vast additional acreage—questioning, studying, delaying, blocking and escalating costs for every proposal and project. They’re about to get an inkling.

Most Americans associate the ESA with prominent conservation achievements, such as reversing the near-extinction of iconic national emblems like the bald eagle, alligator and bison. However, the ESA has increasingly been invoked to “protect” small, obscure creatures like beetles, other bugs and the snail darter of Tellico Dam fame—and often to block energy and economic development.

Three invented spotted owl subspecies ended timber cutting in many states—often resulting in super-hot conflagrations that incinerated forests, soil organisms and endangered species alike. The delta smelt’s 2010 endangered species designation is being used to deny water to farmers and communities in California’s Central Valley, costing thousands of jobs, millions in agricultural damage and numerous bankruptcies—while regulators flushed billions of gallons of water into the sea in unsuccessful efforts to help the fish.

Indeed, it seems only wind turbines are exempted from the ESA’s draconian rules and penalties. Worse, threatened or endangered designation has only rarely been used as a foundation for proactive efforts to restore species populations. In some cases, environmentalists have opposed proposed human intervention such as hatching California condors and releasing the grown adults into the wild, or employing fish hatcheries for smelts.

The real activist and regulator goal of ESA designations—and actual result—seems to be land use control.

With regard to neonicotinoid seed treatments, which account for over 90% of neonic usage, even EPA recently concluded that these insecticides pose no threat to honeybees, and careful practices can easily mitigate potential risks from spraying them. In fact, growing scientific evidence is so overwhelming that neonics are safe for domesticated bees and wild bees (native bees) alike that anti-pesticide groups are now focusing on bumblebees, which have declined in numbers and about which much less is known. The real threats to all bee species continue to be natural and imported mites, fungi and other diseases. There is little evidence that government-mandated efforts to “restore” lost habitat for bumblebees (or other “endangered” species) will actually bring them back.

Many suspect that these last-ditch DC dictates have little to do with conservation—and are primarily designed to expand government control over land use and development. That’s why a 2016 FWS decision to expand its definition of “critical habitat” caused 18 state attorneys general to sue the agency over its asserted authority to “protect” areas where endangered species do not currently live, calling it an unconstitutional “taking” of private property without compensation.

This and countless other Obama Administration actions also help explain why the majority of US counties voted for Donald Trump, and why Republicans now control the House and Senate, 33 governorships and 68 state legislative chambers. Hillary Clinton won only in coastal cities, academic enclaves and very poor areas.

All of this suggests that most of America is tired of being governed by unelected, unaccountable, elitist, illegitimate Washington bureaucrats who don’t understand or care about citizens’ concerns and needs.

The endangered species actions raise vital questions for the new Congress and Trump Administration:

  • Amid all the other high-priority items, how can we block and defund this last-ditch RPB overreach?
  • How can we repeal, replace, repair and improve the Endangered Species Act, to prevent future abuses, balance human and wildlife needs, and find ways to recover populations of threatened and endangered species without controlling or shutting down thousands of human activities on hundreds of millions of acres?

It’s an essential component of restoring power from Washington to the people. If Trump is serious about restoring the governing power to the people, this would be a good and essential place to start.

There Are NOT 100s of Pipeline Explosions A Year   2 comments

The other day, I ran across a post on Twitter saying there were 130-odd pipeline explosions in the last year “caused death and mayhem”.

Image result for alaska pipeline shot by drunkLiving in a big oil state, I thought I’d have heard of that if pipelines were that dangerous. So I decided to research it. It’s what I do, right.

There was a pipeline explosion in Shelby County, Alabama, back in October. It killed one worker, injured five others and sent a massive plume of flames and smoke into the sky.

That’s scary, but pipeline explosions are pretty rare and it is rarer still that such accidents cause a fatality.

In the last 10 years, there have been 135 excavation accidents involve pipelines carrying hazardous liquids such as gasoline or crude oil, according to Carl Weimer, executive director of the Pipeline Safety Trust, an industry watchdog group. That’s about one a month. In those same 10 years, there was one fatality from such an accident, a Georgia man killed when a liquid propane pipeline ruptured in 2010.

Before that, the last fatal accident was in November 2004 (six years earlier) when five workers were killed when a jet fuel pipeline in Walnut Creek, California, was hit during a construction project.

Liquid pipelines are typically made of thick steel … the earlier ones were made of cast iron. Due to cathodic protection to prevent corrosion (rusting), sparks are generally suppressed. Excavation accidents generally just cause spills rather than an explosion.

In Alaska, we have this 800-mile-long pipeline that literally anyone can walk up to. That’s going to give people some ideas. In the 1970s, some guys tried to blow it up with a truck filled with dynamite. They damaged the insulation and the vibration knocked the pipeline off-line, but no oil was spilled.

In 2001, a drunk managed to shoot a hole in the TransAlaska Pipeline with a hunting rifle. He got lucky and hit a weld and bathed a part of Alaska countryside with a lot of oil at high pressure. My husband worked on the clean-up because only electricians are allowed to touch the cathodic protection. Nothing caught fire. Nothing exploded, even with a hot bullet piercing the pipeline.

Most hazardous liquid pipeline fatalities are due to causes such as improper operation of the pipeline or equipment failure. Fatalities are far more common when a natural gas line is ruptured. There were 116 deaths involving natural gas pipelines in the last 10 years, 32 of which were caused by excavation accidents. Most of those excavation deaths involved the relatively small pipes carrying natural gas into homes and businesses, which are often made from polyethylene instead of metal.

The number of natural gas accidents isn’t that much higher, but a lot more people are killed and injured because gas explodes easily.

The discussion of the Dakota Access Pipeline has been blown way out of proportion. Pipeline transportation of crude oil is much safer than tank car or truck transportation. I understanding the environmental concerns, but there are already existing pipelines crossing the Missouri within that corridor. Why are these older pipelines not a concern, but this brandnew pipeline built with modern safety protocals is considered a disaster.

This protest isn’t about the pipeline’s safety. It’s about the environmentalists’ desire to control the rest of us by reducing us to poverty by taking away efficient energy sources.

To a large extent, the Standing Rock Indians are completely on the wrong side of this debate. The pipeline is a bit of infrastructure that is part of improving the economy of the area, creating jobs that Standing Rock Indians could take if they weren’t so busy being pawns in the environmentalist design.

Just ask yourself this. Which is a better paying job? Working as wait staff at a casino or working in the oil patch? We could perhaps argue about which commerical venture causes more harm to the human spirits involved in the enterprise.My tribe has a casino. I live in a state with a large oil patch. What do you think I might know about both topics?

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