The United States has the most stringent environmental protections in the world and a pipeline is the safest of the safe. Railcars, ships, nothing compares to the safety, and therefore nominal environmental risk that pipelines afford. Yet time and again politics has pushed science to the back.(1)
In this latest development, a February 3rd railcar accident caused a fire and concern was warranted because 10 cars contained butyl acrylate and vinyl chloride. Three days later residents were evacuated so government could create a "controlled release" but the black smoke set the political wheels rolling.
EPA has monitored since then and of the 291 homes screened, no detections of vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride have occurred. That's good news, though a modern equivalent of Tom Girardi is waiting in the wings to sue regardless.
What may even better is that the far left and the far right agree that the Biden administration is doing to Ohio what they did to Afghanistan. Running around until the publicity spins out of control and then declaring victory after it's a failure. Both Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar and Republican Senator Ted Cruz feel like, safe outcome or not, the administration should have done a better job handling both the chemical issue and the public concern.
Politicians grandstanding never helps anything but it may cause career scientists who have seen their efforts to get safer transportation blocked start to speak up. Yes, railroads are union workers and therefore Biden voters, but it looks bad when these things happen and it gets out that the big reason it wasn't prevented is because politics trumps science yet again.
East Palestine railroad derailment will have a significant negative impact on the health and wellbeing of the residents for decades and there is almost zero national media attention.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 13, 2023
We need Congressional inquiry and direct action from @PeteButtigieg to address this tragedy. https://t.co/I42g4fXWsz
(1) President Obama not only overruled his own scientists in blocking Keystone XL, he neutered his own Secretary of State. The science showed that with thousands of miles of pipeline moving products safely over the Ogallala acquifer, a few hundred more miles of modern ones had no environmental impact. Yet a campaign was mobilized against it anyway.