Stand With Ezra

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Of Pipelines and Trains

One of the most glaring examples of environmental foolishness comes from the Keystone XL question. Because the pipeline is stalled for political reasons, oil from the Oil Sands has had to be shipped by train.

I do not consider myself a genius yet people who don't intuitively understand that pipelines are more reliable than cars on a rail make me feel like one. I say 'intuitive' because many people just take one look at a pipeline and know that its better than a train without any need to comment on it or explain it. Too often the mistake of reasonably intelligent people is to assume that other people are also reasonably intelligent.

It should be obvious to any but the severely miseducated among the left that pipelines are:
  1. safer
  2. cheaper
  3. cleaner

Pipelines are Safer


The simplest way to put it is that there are fewer moving parts and therefore fewer things that can go wrong. The pipe is installed, tested, inspected on a regular basis and thats it you've got a pipeline. Anything that can go wrong with a pipeline can also go wrong with a rail line. Mud slides, Earthquakes, sabotage, the risks are all the same.

Tanker cars add another level of complexity to the system. Now you have to worry about mechanical failure of the car at a number of points. The wheels, the axles, brakes, taps, hatches, battens, the scheduling that keeps rails cars from colliding, all of that adds to the risk of potential failure of the system as a whole.

Plenty of people ride trains every single day. Its hard to drive this message home since people have complete trust in trains just as they should. People spills are much worse than oil spills yet they do happen. Since people are discreet units they simply can't be transported by pipe. (duh -but if you could move people by pipe you know it would be superior to rail)

Forgive me if this is a "no brainer" to you but some people really need it spelled out for them. People who can understand the world at a glance just don't become eco-nuts. Let me try to put it differently for their sake.

Most people live in a house with plumbing. You are probably surrounded by pipelines right now. You have pipes for hot water, cold water, rain water, gas, sewage, central air, central vac, even the cables for your electricity are bundled into conduit pipes. Now try to imagine that instead of hot water running through pipes to your shower head in the morning you have a model train in your walls bringing you hot water by the tank.

How well do you suppose that would work? Think it can be done cheaper and as hassle free as your existing network of plumbing? How about your little poop train running under the floors? Are you going to clean it and inspect it constantly, because one mishap means you've got a load of poop where you don't want it.
The Model Railroad Toilet


Pipelines are Cheaper



Pipelines don't require high maintenance for the cars and the tracks and the locomotives. Not to mention the people needed to drive the locomotives, run the rail system and load and unload the liquid cargo. They all need large paychecks and benefits or they will shut the system down on us. Tank cars also crowd the rail system adding even more to the cost of all goods moved by rail.

Don't kid yourself.  They will charge what they have to charge and you are the one who ends up paying.

Fuel costs money and locomotives burn much more fuel than a pump houses. Pump houses are static structures so they can be connected right into the grid.

Pipelines are Cleaner


Along with the cost of fuel mentioned above come the "environmental costs." Its all bullcrap of course. Carbon is not pollution. There is much more rock solid evidence that CO2 is plant food than there is this about this cult of carbon doom that consistently misses its own doomsday predictions. I include this only to show that eco-nuts are internally inconsistent in their eco-nuttery.

The opposition to Keystone is supposed to be about the evil carbon intensity of the Oil Sands. Why would eco-nuts force the necessary transport of oil through a mode of transportation that is more carbon intensive? I haven't even spoken about the increased risk of a spill from all those extra points of contact. It makes no sense.

These people don't know anything about anything. They are easily duped walking talking bags of pure emotion. Reason is a dirty word to these people. They dimly understand that Reason leads to losing the argument so they instinctively will shout, scream, wave silly signs and do anything to avoid discussion.

Approving Keystone


The other day Obama gave his SOTU speech. He spoke about attracting investments in infrastructure, in a so-called "Partnership to Rebuild America." (so what happened to the last push for infrastructure? Didn't get it done?) The Keystone XL pipeline defiantly falls into the infrastructure category. He also claimed to support "modern pipelines to withstand a storm." One hopes this includes storms of eco-bullcrap that have twice wrecked the KXL pipeline already.

Even today Eco-nuts are holding a Blackout Rally in Washington. 5,000 mindless blades of astro-turf were bused in completely unaware of the miracle of affordable internal combustion that made it possible.

Encouragingly media coverage of the event seems sparse. We've seen this movie already. The "legitimate" media as Biden calls it, is firmly in the tank for Obama. The President who can do no wrong shall not be criticized from the right or the left or anywhere. It sets the stage for an approval of KXL because the leftist media complex excels at nothing more than political theater. Even they sorely need the economic good news that approving KXL will bring for the news itself rather than the economic good for its own sake.

UPDATE: Reliable sources on the ground dispute the size of the astro-turf.  Huffpo pegged it at 40,000 but the actuall number is 5,000 shivering morons.  Post has been updated to reflect reality.

1 comment:

Don said...

They should've bussed them in on an electric bus... it's too bad the power would've cut out half way there.

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