Environmentalists Protesting Oil Trains Should Answer Questions About Alternatives

Environmental activists are planning a week of protests against oil by rail shipments in remembrance of the Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, derailment and explosion which killed 47 people.

That train was hauling oil from North Dakota’s oil fields. In fact, most of the oil produced in North Dakota is shipped by rail these days thanks to a lack of pipeline infrastructure caused, in part, by political obstruction from these same activists.

If these activists get their way, they would create an oil transport bottleneck which would all but shut down the Bakken oil fields.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]If they’re honest, they’ll admit that they don’t want the oil produced at all. Once they give that answer it’s not unreasonable to dismiss these people as unserious.[/mks_pullquote]

Which is why reporters covering these protests should ask the activists organizing them one simple question: What’s your alternative?

These activists don’t want oil by rail, and they don’t want pipelines, so what is their solution for transporting oil from the wells where it is produced to the customers who will use it?

If they’re not entirely forthcoming they’ll dodge the question. If they’re honest, they’ll admit that they don’t want the oil produced at all.

Once they give that answer it’s not unreasonable to dismiss these people as unserious.

If states like North Dakota can’t produce oil we will only create a hole in the global oil markets which will be filled by countries like Iran and Venezuela. Plus, our economy runs on oil. Our quality of life, and our cost of living, would be dramatically impacted to the worse if we stopped using oil.

In fact, the ability of left-wing protest groups to fly and bus in their supporters to protests would be greatly diminished. After all, buses and jets don’t run on vegetable oil.

I suspect these protesters won’t be asked these questions though. They’ll instead be allowed to cavort in the streets and throw rhetorical bombs at the oil and rail industries without having to take responsibility for what would be the real-world consequences of their activism if they got their way.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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