A Pipeline Is A Pipeline, So Why the Protests Over Gas Pipelines?

landowners and laborers - Vic FurmanVictor Furman
Upstate New York Landowner Shale Gas Activist at NYRAD-R

Some gas pipelines seem to generate a lot of attention from fractivists but are just pipelines and have superb safety records. Fractivists are simply focusing on them as targets of opportunity.

Gas pipelines are the safest, most environmentally-friendly way to transport natural gas, according to the US Department of Transportation.  So why do gas pipelines draw so much attention from the fractivist?  There is a simple answer.

Fractivists have been busy attacking pipeline projects recently, but their opposition is anything but principled as is easily discerned from asking some key questions all too many simple-minded people seem incapable of doing. I decided to Google for some answers and after asking two simple questions, I got two simple answers that tell us a lot about the pipeline controversies fractivists have been ginning up.

First was “how many miles of water pipelines are in the USA and Canada?” Below, are the answers I received; more than one million in both Canada and the USA:

  • There are approximately one million miles of water pipeline and aqueducts in the United States and Canada, enough to circle Earth 40 times.
  • The first water pipes in the US were made from wood (bored logs that were charred with fire).
  • Per the EIA, there are some 305,000 miles of interstate and intrastate transmission pipelines in the US. Here is a map of the gas pipelines in the US.

Gas Pipeline

  • These 305k miles are comprised of more than 210 individual systems, and rely on more than 1,400 compressor stations. There are more than 11,000 delivery points and 1,400 interconnection points for transfer of gas in the US.

The second question I asked was; “What are the facts on water usage in the United States now?” Below are the results, with my comments bolded.

  • The first municipal water filtration works opened in Paisley, Scotland in 1832
  • A gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds.
  • A cubic foot of water weighs 62.4 pounds
  • An inch of water covering one acre (27,154 gallons) weighs 113 tons. Here in the Northeast we will never have a shortage of quality drinking water due to the amount of water we have and our rainfall.
  • Water vaporizes at 212 degrees F, 100 degrees C.
  • It takes more water to manufacture a new car (39,090 gallons) than to fill an above ground swimming pool. It takes more than ten gallons of water to produce one slice of bread.
  • Over 713 gallons of water go into the production of one cotton T-shirt.
  • 1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk.
  • Roughly 634 gallons of water go into the production of one hamburger.
  • Water is the only substance found on earth naturally in three forms: solid, liquid and gas.
  • At 1 drip per second, a faucet can leak 3,000 gallons per year.  Imagine the waste in cities where food is more important than calling a plumber for a leaky faucet.  Just last week I had to use the rest room at a local park and every single faucet was dripping and I gave it no thought….until now.
  • Water makes up between 55-78% of a human’s body weight.  Looks like I might be able to fill a small pool myself… time to go on a diet!

According to this artIcle, construction on a 400-mile water pipeline is about to be underway in southwestern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota, and northwestern Iowa.

“The Lewis and Clark Rural Water System consists of five reservoirs and seven pump stations, supplying and delivering over 27.2 million gallons of water per day to communities within the tri-state area. The water will be extracted from a series of wells along the Missouri River and will supply over 200,000 people with high quality drinking water.”

“The cost of this project is estimated at about $360 million and will take 10 to 12 years to complete. In a region that has struggled with water quality and availability problems due to shallow wells, drought, and aquifer contamination, this project is an exciting prospect. Pipeline construction will, however, cut across wetlands, farmlands, and private property within the three states, posing several environmental concerns. Also, wildlife groups are concerned with potentially loud noise levels created by well drilling and pumping.”

The impacts of this very needed project dwarf those of the typical gas pipeline. Here are a few illustrative pictures from the project “Talking Points” presentation:

gas pipelines - water pipelines gas pipelines - water pipelines

gas pipelines - water pipelines gas pipelines - water pipelines gas pipelines - water pipelines gas pipelines - water pipelines gas pipelines - water pipelines gas pipelines - water pipelines gas pipelines - water pipelines

See what I mean? A pipe is a pipe is a pipe. Although different in sizes, they are all used in the same way when it comes to our pipelines here in America. The only exception is that some municipalities want their water pipes to be lined with a plastic insert to reduce the metal (from rust or iron).  This metal is often touted in anti-gas meetings as proof of pollution; when it’s actually proof of a casing not lined in plastic (from fossil fuels).

So, my point, apparent by the above, is that all pipelines, whether gas or water, operate the very same way. They cross land, go under streams and rivers, lay at the bottom of lakes, traverse swamps and even across private property. They are all installed using similar techniques. They require temporary land disturbances, pump stations and some support structures. Wells are required to feed them. They are essential infrastructure systems.

So, why then are certain radical environmentalists trying to stop gas pipelines as evil things that destroy property rights and the environment?  I know the answer; they are misguided and delusional in their anti-fossil fuel fight and deliberately use fear to generate public misconceptions they hope will turn the tide against fracking and all fossil fuels.

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7 thoughts on “A Pipeline Is A Pipeline, So Why the Protests Over Gas Pipelines?

  1. Pingback: A Pipeline Is A Pipeline, So Why the Protests Over Gas Pipelines? | ShaleNOW

  2. To paraphrase Odgen Nash: Vic, quit using common sense, it won’t work and it annoys the “fractivists”! 🙂
    Seriously, if the installation of any pipeline is an issue to these folks, then it would best that they no longer use the resource carried by said infrastructure. After all, if there is no demand for it (due to its “evil” existence), then supply is not needed and therefore they should find some other method of drinking water and bathing and/or cooking food and heating their homes.

  3. In addition to the infrastructure being practically the same you do have many of the same chemicals in water treatment are indeed used in Peroleum well stimulation. You have chemicals for PH adjustment , control of harmful bacteria along with substances that cure some of the same problems with water as a Fracking media . Frackivists are the ultimate in blissful as surely they are the most ignorant both intellectually and hammers wise

  4. They are ultracrepidarians. People who speak beyond their own level of expertise or competence. An all to frequent and common practice these days.

  5. A Pipeline Is A Pipeline, So Why the Protests Over Gas Pipelines?

    The problem with gas pipelines is that you can heat your house with the natural gas that flows through them. This is enough to send shivers up any fractivist’s spine. They, the paranoid self declared, and supposed environmentalists needed a cause to hang their movement on. That ill conceived and misguided cause was the Sylindra Solar Power boondoggle. Unfortunately, the Sylindra project failed miserably and the investors, read “fractivists” lost a lot of money. This failed solar power experiment just happened to coincide with the shale gas bonanza that all Americans are now enjoying.The fractivist’s misguided efforts to discredit the enormous benefits of the clean, abundant, affordable natural gas are totally without merit or any reason, whatsoever. Ironically, the very same fractivists who are railing against natural gas and pipelines are all heating their hi-rise apartments with the very same piped in hydrofracked natural gas that they are railing against.
    My advise to our misguided and highly confused hi-rise environmentalists is to stop talking about it, and just replace those dirty gas pipelines with good clean solar panels. You know, like you want everyone else to do. Keep us informed with updated progress reports from time to time.

  6. Pingback: Will Our PC Governor Kill the Pipeline, Too? | ShaleNOW

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