by Dennis Townsend, Contributing Writer
If there’s anybody who deserves a voice when it comes to the destruction of the environment, it is those who cannot speak, the wildlife of our planet. And if there is evidence needed to prove the instability of a petroleum pipeline it’s the recent pipeline break in Santa Barbara, California. Plains All American Pipeline, a company that has been sited numerous times for countless violations, has yet another blemish on their record of irresponsibility. Since 2006, their company subsidiaries have reported 223 accidents spilling a combined 864, 000 gallons of hazardous liquids according to U.S. records. The latest rupture leaked more than 105,000 gallons of crude oil that covered and killed fish, sea lions, and pelicans. It was the only pipeline in that part of California that wasn’t required to have an automatic shut-off valve thanks to a slick lawyer working for the previous company owner and a court decision in the late 1980’s.
Sooner or later the XXL pipeline will come back into the spotlight, and there will be those politicians who will talk of jobs and untold benefits to running a pipeline from Canada to Texas. Benefits that benefit those who lobby for such a pipeline albeit. There is nothing like gambling on the environment to make a buck. If you ask me, the trade-off, jobs for polluting the environment, is a lop-sided proposition. With all the talk and evidence, there are people who say there is no pollution caused climate change which even every 5th grader knows is the wrong answer. They should ask politicians if it would be okay to run a pipeline through their backyards and see if they are receptive to the idea. The XXL pipeline isn’t about jobs, and if you think that, then you still believe in the boogie-man because it’s all about that old nemesis, the almighty dollar bill. What’s really depressing is that there is no worth-while punishment to fit the crime once the damage is done.
We have seen the destruction an oil spill can cause, who can forget the BP oil spill which still has oil coming to the surface in the Gulf, and we still debate one another about if a pipeline is good for the country. The question is do we want jobs or a clean environment? We may not be able to save the whole planet, but we should do what we can to save our little piece of it. It says a lot about the condition of the environment when a dishwashing liquid is more popular for cleaning wildlife than it is for doing the dishes. The need for fossil fuels will surely be our undoing in one way or another and while we may be able to tolerate a polluted planet for a little while, in the long run, nothing will survive.
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