In article on NBC News written by Dennis Romero called “In Kansas, crews contain largest-yet breach of Keystone Pipeline,” it tells of better news in stopping a large oil spill in Kansas. Yet, the story goes deeper as it shows the breaches are not uncommon. The last time I paid attention to this story, there had been fourteen breaches. Now we are up to twenty-two.
The full article is below. The following summarizes a few paragraphs. Just focus on the highlighted pieces for a quick thumbnail sketch.
“The operator of the Keystone Pipeline System, which carries a form of crude oil from Canada to multiple states for refining, said over the weekend that its largest breach yet has been contained for now.
The pipeline failure 3 miles east of Washington, Kansas, on Wednesday caused an estimated 14,000 barrels of crude, or 588,000 gallons of a form of crude known as tar sands oil, to spill into Mill Creek, a natural waterway, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the U.S. Transportation Department….
In the last five years, there have been at least three significant spills along the original Keystone Pipeline System, Wednesday’s being the most voluminous, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
The pipeline regulators also noted accidents and breaches in the Keystone system in 2011, 2016 and 2020. The affected section is part of the 288-mile Cushing Extension, completed in 2011, which takes crude from Steele City, Nebraska, to Cushing, Oklahoma, regulators said.
Environmentalists have argued that the incidents come with such a pipeline and that they’re not worth the convenience of more direct transportation for fossil fuel in a world coming to terms with global warming caused largely by burning it.
The Sierra Club said it was the 22nd time the pipeline it calls Keystone 1 has been the site of a spill, breach or accident.
‘There is no such thing as a safe tar sands pipeline and this is another disaster that continues to prove we must put our climate and our communities first,’ Catherine Collentine of the Sierra Club said in a statement.”
Oil transported by ship, derrick, train, truck or pipeline will breach at some point. And, the spills usually are disastrous. On the flip side, when an offshore windmill breaches, it causes a different result – a splash. When a solar panel breaches it causes a small outage.
Interestingly, Kansas is one of only two states that gets 40% or more of its energy from wind energy behind Iowa (see second article below). Ironically, the largest wind energy producer by volume in the US is the oil rich state of Texas. And, very quietly, Texas developed infrastructure to harness the electricity from these distributed windmills.
Let me close with the words I heard uttered by oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens on “60 Minutes” about ten years ago before he passed away. He said natural gas will buy us some time, but the future of energy in America is wind energy. It is not a surprise that the windy plains states of America are leading the way.