By Sue Sturgis
(Special from Facing South) — In the debate over construction of new oil and gas pipelines, industry representatives have long argued that pipelines are safer than other methods for moving fossil fuels over long distances.
Take for example the recent statement a spokesperson for the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana — a project spearheaded by Energy Transfer Partners, the same Dallas-based company behind the highly contentious Dakota Access Pipeline — made to The Advocate of Baton Rouge. The Bayou Bridge Pipeline would carry oil from a terminal in Nederland, Texas, across South Louisiana to refineries and export terminals near New Orleans.
“Currently, most of the crude oil being delivered to refineries along the Gulf Coast is coming in by truck, rail and marine, all of which are more dangerous to the environment than underground pipelines,” Alexis Daniel told the newspaper in an email.
Research has shown that, depending on the criteria used to define safety, trucks, trains and boats can be riskier in some ways than pipelines. But new data crunched by watchdog groups raise questions about the industry’s optimistic pipeline safety claims — at least in terms of the frequency of pipeline spills and the pollution they emit to the environment.