Could The Keysone Pipeline Project Become A Rail Project?

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As TransCanada, the company that has been trying to get approval for the Keystone XL pipeline project (which is extremely important infrastructure for North Dakota oil development, especially in light of the recent train derailment in Casselton), waits for yet another State Department report they’ve announced the possibility of bridging the space between completed sections of the line with rail:

TransCanada Corp. could develop a rail bridge from Canada to Nebraska if the northern portion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline continues to be held up by the U.S. government, president and CEO Russ Girling said Tuesday.

The Calgary-based company has ongoing dialogue with railways and oil companies about options to Keystone, and “if we need to bridge with rail, we will bridge,” Mr. Girling said in an interview.

“I don’t think we would ever stop pressing the pipeline option, but there is a point in time at which we would consider a rail option,” he said.

With the oil-driven spike in rail traffic leading to several high-profile incidents of train derailments, with varying degrees of tragedy, this isn’t exactly good news for those concerned with the safe transport of oil.

Like it or not, pipelines are safer than rail. Sure, pipelines spill too, but pipelines don’t derail causing fire balls and death.

Pipeline obstructionism is pushing oil transport to infrastructure that is inherently less safe.

That’s unfortunate, but unlikely to change, as these people are concerned with transport safety so much as they are with stopping the use of oil in general.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from 1-2pm weekdays.

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