Friday, May 12, 2017

The damned thing isn't even online yet ...


From the Guardian:

The Dakota Access pipeline has suffered its first leak, outraging indigenous groups who have long warned that the project poses a threat to the environment.

The $3.8bn oil pipeline, which sparked international protests last year and is not yet fully operational, spilled 84 gallons of crude oil at a South Dakota pump station, according to government regulators.

Although state officials said the 6 April leak was contained and quickly cleaned, critics of the project said the spill, which occurred as the pipeline is in the final stages of preparing to transport oil, raises fresh concerns about the potential hazards to waterways and Native American sites.

The pipeline runs under the water supply used by the Standing Rock Sioux.

As I've aged, I've come to appreciate that engineers sometimes can build marvelously functioning wonders that achieve extraordinary capacities. There's the tiny computer on which I'm writing, for example. Or my friend's hearing aids which actually work, unlike the horrid appliances my grandmother futilely adjusted for 20 years.

But sometimes engineers simply make mistakes -- I think of the design flaws that mean that the steel reinforcement in the new Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge is most likely rusting out after only a few years of use.

Most especially on grand projects from which some entity expects grand profits, engineers have perverse incentives to over-estimate how perfectly their creations will function. Think Fukushima and the engulfing, "impossible" tsunami that made for the meltdown of its nuclear core. Or the Hanford nuclear waste depository where a tunnel containing deadly radioactive material collapsed this week.

DAPL seems all too likely to be one of the latter kind: grand, ambitious, but sloppy in execution and under-regulated by compliant state and federal officials.

When the land and water are despoiled, the life on it dies. That ought to count for something.

3 comments:

Rain Trueax said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rain Trueax said...

I had to remove this because of a major typo lol. Here is is corrected-- I hope.

it is the obvious fear now that the party that doesn't care about the environment has a president who doesn't understand how interconnected we all are. I wish someday we'd have a real outdoors person run for the Presidency, someone who knew the land, understood nature, sure maybe hunted, but also respected the food brought home. I wonder if such a creature exists in the political realm. I know Montana has a rancher for Senator (despite what some fear, ranchers who last, know they have to husband the land), but he didn't seem the type to do well in rising up the ranks elsewhere. we need a Teddy Roosevelt, who not only understood the land but tried to do things for the poor, some of which is cousin eventually did. Someone like that would understand the permanent damage these pipelines can do. It was a big reason I voted for Hillary (although she was for the XL before she was against it and who knew what she'd do. The thing was I did know what Trump would do and he's doing it again and again to any project that might create dollars while ruining the land :(

joared said...

Incredible that this whole project has been allowed to go through as I've followed it from the beginning.

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