Letter: Reports misleading on pipeline impact

The article in the June 22 Gazette about the ongoing oil pipeline dispute in North Dakota repeats the oft-cited — but terribly misleading — alarm that the pipeline poses imminent danger to a local Indian tribe’s water source. News wire sources publish these alarms then local media, such as The Gazette, unwittingly repeat the warning.

But what the wire services rarely report is exactly where the water source is in relation to the buried pipeline. From all the hullabaloo, the casual reader assumes that the water intake source must be a matter of feet away from the buried pipe. In reality, the tribe’s water source is 70 miles downstream. (Don’t believe me. Read Reuters Nov. 22 news release). But what the wire services report even more infrequently is that just 1.7 miles upstream from the water intake source is a railroad bridge which spans the river. And what do railroad tanker cars carry? Oh, yes: oil.

Granted, there still is a risk, the water source is downstream. But you be the judge. If you’re protecting your water intake source, do you want to deal with an oil pipeline spill 70 miles away or an oil tanker derailment on a bridge 1.7 miles away.

Rich Zeis


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