Who’s minding 
the pipelines?

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Unfortunately, if we are to have an energy providing infrastructure, these things are going to happen from time to time. There is no perfect spill proof answer, and the energy industry has no godlike power to prevent these things 100% of the time.

All we can do is the best we can in identifying, repairing and cleaning up the damage ASAP. Life has risks in everything and for every convenience contrived by man, there will be a risk associated with it.

If we were to adopt a lifestyle that eliminated every environmentalist’s fear, we’d be living back in the stone-age.

5 ppb is the health limit on benzene contamination. When these types of levels are established, it indicates the tolerable limits of increased numbers of people suffering fatality. The level of benzene past the pick-up trench was as high as 18,000 ppb or 3600 times the health limit. That did not include the toluene, ethylbenzene, or xylene of the (BTEX) group. This group is partially soluble in water, so through the water table it can reach the creek, wells, and ditches along the creek which empties in the Colorado river.. Of the cancers this group can cause are liver and pancreatic cancers.  So, Mr. M.T.M., if in the future you develop this malady, it just might have been associated with that risk of your lifestyle enjoyment. It can come at you from the water or air.
With your grandiose statement of sweeping everyone clear to the stone age, it rather over states the level that oil and gas play – probably in worst case scenario it would be mid 1800’s. But then the challenge would be on us to harness the natural energies of wind, solar, gravity, and natural discharge of electricity. The secret all lies in electrical power storage.  While the carbon fuels have been the path of least resistance, they are limited, but our time is even more limited. We are nearing climate point of no return just before we exhaust the fuels. In Russian roulette you only get a certain number of clicks with a revolver and this gamble affects all mankind foreshortening his existance.
You don’t mind sacrificing your children’s and their children future for what you perceive is your great lifestyle. This is the ultimate practice of hedonism. However, it doesn’t take “godlike” power on the part of industry to prevent these all too often spills, but it does take inspection, preventative maintenance, quality materials and parts, and considered practices with training.

The only two alternatives are not “these things happen, life has risks” or “close down all the drilling”. We need to do two things: 1) provide funding for adequate enforcement - right now the COGCC cannot inspect more than a miniscule fraction of what exists - we need much better oversight and that will cost some money. 2) We need to move forward with drilling only as fast as we can keep up with needed oversight. Sure, there will be leaks, but it’s irresponsible to not have enough enforcement to make sure pipelines are leak-tested, pit operators are more careful, emissions are controlled, and so on.

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