Pipelines or Oil Trains? No Thanks: I’ll take clean energy

Pipelines or Oil Trains? No Thanks: I’ll take clean energy

Friday February 10, 2017

This week, I had the honor to be a panel member on a webcast along with Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth and Jane Kleeb from Bold Alliance. We were looking at pipelines and oil trains and lessons learned from successful fights to stop both—and how to continue to succeed with a hostile Trump Administration in power. Winona and Jane provided smart, clear-eyed explanations of what’s at stake with both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipeline fights.

For many of us dealing with the oil industry, our neighbors and friends are asking us the same question: "Well, if you oppose pipelines, do you support oil trains?" or "If you oppose oil trains, then you’re in favor of pipelines, right?"

Fight the False Choice Webinar Recording

The “pipelines or oil trains” question can only be asked if we accept the idea that oil-related infrastructure must grow. And that simply isn’t the case.

Ask yourself this: When was the last time you had trouble getting gas to fill up your car? Not since 1973, right? That’s because the world is currently awash in oil. Per capita consumption of oil is going down and oil producing countries are throttling back their production to keep prices from completely bottoming out.

Simply put, expanded dirty oil infrastructure—if we allow it to go forward—is not for us, but mostly for overseas markets. And, the issue is simple... greedy oil companies want access to more markets. The more channels they have to move their oil, the more profit they can make at our expense.

As Jane Kleeb keeps reminding us, each one of these oil pipeline and train projects is “all risk, no reward”. We need new pipelines carrying water to the residents in places like Flint, Michigan, and we need new trains carrying people and goods all across North America. But we don’t need pipelines and oil trains carrying explosive, toxic crude oil that endangers our health, our communities, and our climate.

The real choice is simple: we need to say “no” to all new fossil fuel infrastructure and say “yes” to clean, renewable energy.