Will Lac-Megantic change your opinion on pipelines?

Thomas Bink
Will Lac-Megantic change your opinion on pipelines?

Over the coming days, oil companies and petroleum experts will use the tragedy in Lac-Megantic as rationale to endorse and approve pipelines like the Keystone XL as a transportation method.

Late Friday night, five locomotives and 72 oil cars rolled into the centre of the picturesque lakeside town about 250 kilometres east of Montreal and derailed, causing a massive explosion that flattened buildings and killed at least five people.

Statistics show that transporting oil by rail is safer than tanker truck, but transporting by pipeline is safer than rail.

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"People think rail is costless until something like this happens," John Stephenson, fund manager with First Asset Investment Management Inc., told the National Post. "This is another data point that shows how much costlier and riskier rail is compared to pipelines and will probably move Canada closer to having an energy strategy."

Because of pressure by environmental activists, "pipeline" has become a negative buzzword and point of contention. But oil needs to be moved, and as a result, transporting oil by rail has increased a staggering 28,000 percent over the past five years. Without the Keystone XL, rail shipments of crude oil would rise an additional 42% by 2017.

"It's been a real shame that a lot of the public and especially activists have pushed the public to sway so much from pipelines which are likely much, much safer over time," Arthur Salzer, CEO of Northland Wealth Management told The Post. "It's something that's going to weigh on the public's mind."

According to the Association of Oil Pipelines, pipelines had an effective rate of 0.0005%, with 2.3 million gallons of crude oil spilled of 474.6 billion gallons transported.

So we ask you: Has the train disaster in Lac-Megantic changed your opinion on using pipelines to transport oil in Canada?

Have your say in the comments area below.