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Canadian train derailment shines light on safety of oil pipelines

Chris Woodward   ( Tuesday, July 09, 2013

An economist and labor expert says last weekend's rail accident in Canada is all the more reason for the U.S. to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Seventy-three cars carrying crude oil derailed in Quebec, killing at least 13 people and spilling oil into the surrounding area. ( See latest from AP)

Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute released a study last year titled "Pipelines Are Safest For Transportation Of Oil And Gas."


"What we find," she says, "is that if you look at injury and incident rates, hospitalization and total rates of accidents from road, rail and pipeline, we find that pipelines are safer than road or rail."

The Quebec incident has brought into question comments made by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper last May in New York City. He said that oil from Canada would come into the U.S. one way or another, but the rail alternative to the Keystone XL pipeline would be "far more environmentally challenging."

Furchtgott-Roth also points out that 70 percent of crude oil and petroleum products are shipped by pipeline on a ton-mile basis. Rail accounts for around three percent.

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