Left-wing groups ranging from the Sierra Club to Socialist Action – Twin Cities are planning a march in Minneapolis/St. Paul later this week against “tar sands” pipelines.
The timing lines up with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission reviewing the Sandpiper pipeline on Wednesday. An administrative law judge has already cleared the way for Minnesota to join North Dakota in allowing the project, but the PUC still needs to sign off on it.
So it’s interesting that the protesters are calling their rally an anti-“tar sands” event. The Sandpiper pipeline will have nothing to do with oil from Alberta which is commonly referred to with that term. The Sandpiper line will start in Tioga, North Dakota, and carry Bakken oil which is very different.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]One rail tanker car holds about 700 barrels of oil. Sandpiper could take over 320 oil tanker cars off the rails every single day.[/mks_pullquote]
In fact, one of the reasons why TransCanada decided to on-ramp North Dakota oil into the Keystone XL pipeline is that Bakken crude is lighter than the “tar sands” oil and would help it flow better through the pipeline.
Needless to say, these protesters set to rally in Minnesota don’t seem to be working from a deep pool of knowledge about what it is they’re protesting. But I wonder, what is it exactly they’re hoping to accomplish?
Because it kind of seems like they want more oil train derailments.
The Sandpiper Pipeline would be capable of taking up to 225,000 barrels per day of Bakken oil out of North Dakota through Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin. That would be over 18 percent of all of North Dakota’s oil output per the most recent production numbers.
One rail tanker car holds about 700 barrels of oil. Sandpiper could take over 320 oil tanker cars off the rails every single day. That’s a big deal. and isn’t that what we want?
Global demand is what it is. Until a better source of energy comes along, our economy runs on fossil fuels. We either need them, or we prepare ourselves to take a serious hit in terms of our cost of living and quality of live. So as long as we need the oil, doesn’t it behoove us to transport it in the safest manner possible?
Unfortunately, the goal of these people seems to be stopping oil production in general. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Consider this profile story about James and Krista Botsford who are Wisconsin residents who own land near Grand Forks, North Dakota. The Sandpiper folks would like to build their pipeline across their land. The Botsfords are saying no.
Their reasoning? They want to stop oil production.
…the Botsfords decided long ago that society should move away from oil dependency and toward renewable resources. It didn’t matter how much the company would offer; in their minds, no money was enough to compromise those values.
“I said, ‘Look, we’re just not going to sign, so why don’t you just go around us?’ ” James Botsford recalled.
The Botsfords and other activists like them are certainly entitled to their point of view on oil, but they should also be confronted with the cause-and-effect relationship between that point of view and how the real world works.
Just as the activists planning to rally in Minnesota should be asked how they like more oil trains as an alternative to the pipeline they hate.