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The United States Pipeline Controversy
January 30, 2017
On January 25th, 2017 136,600 gallons of oil leak out of a pipeline and pool onto an Iowa field near a creek. According to the Des Moines Register, Although there was no water contamination, soil was contaminated. The oil company who owns the pipeline, Magellan, has not offered any estimates as to how long clean up of the spill will take.
This oil leak is only a small part of a larger issue plaguing Iowa as well as the nation. In Iowa, state records show that there have been exactly 100 oil pipeline bursts since 2004. Luckily, many of these have only been minor leaks. However, according to the Des Moines Register, these incidents have cost Iowa taxpayers 20 million dollars in property damage as well as seven injuries. Unfortunately, Iowa isn’t the only state to have oil pipelines go bad.
According to foreffectivegovernment.org, across the United States, eighty people have died and 389 have been injured in oil accidents in the last five years and have cos
t over 2.8 billion dollars in damages. Animals, another lesser known, but nonetheless important victim of oil, have suffered tremendously when oil leaks out of pipelines. According to biologicaldiversity.org, the BP oil spill of 2010 harmed or killed approximately 82,000 birds of 102 species, approximately 6,165 sea turtles, and up to 25,900 marine mammals, including bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, melon-headed whales and sperm whales. With oil leaks causing massive damage to the environment as well as killing humans and animals, many are left wondering why we continue to build these pipelines.
Oil companies continue to note that oil pipelines help to boost the economy, build jobs, and keep oil prices low. The economic benefits and job creation are arguable points, however, it is a fact that oil pipelines are the best way to move oil to those who need it. America (as well as many other countries) are heavily dependent on oil pipelines to keep electricity and energy flowing to homes and buildings. As the Trump administration puts clean energy on the sideline, and with oil companies making massive profits and spending millions of dollars to convince politicians to keep building them, oil pipelines are going to continue to be built in the future despite the possible negative consequences. Do the massive profits of these pipelines outweigh the consequences?