Any man who is attached to things of this world is one who lives in ignorance and is being consumed by the snakes of his own passions. ~ Black Elk
Millions of people around the world are committed to diverting the black snake, the DAPL pipeline but diversion is not sufficient. The water protectors in North Dakota are providing the rest of the planet with a massive wake-up call. We have got to reduce our dependence on big oil globally, and finally utilize the renewable resources that are available and plentiful. Global awareness must continue to rise and people must come to understand that petroleum is toxic to all forms of life. The environmental damage includes water resources, soil contamination, air pollution, and everything else that the oil seeps into, not to mention the health of wildlife, essential microbes, marine life, humans, and our food source. The health risks that humans and all wildlife suffer when exposed to oil spills are complex and the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico is providing us with an in-depth look at just how serious oil disasters are.
There is no solution to the disasters of oil spills, there is only destruction. Big oil poses serious risks to human and environmental health. Trump believes that climate change and global warming is a hoax, and is planning to withdraw from the Paris Global Warming Agreement. In addition, Trump has chosen Exxon Mobil CEO and oil tycoon, Rex Tillerson, as Secretary of State. Enter in Black Elk’s quote: Any man who is attached to things of this world is one who lives in ignorance and is being consumed by the snakes of his own passions.
In spite of the political agenda, we must diligently and emphatically insist upon implementing viable, alternative solutions that allow us to transition to inherently less dangerous and renewable sources of energy. The time is now!
A brief history:
The first oil pipeline in America was built in Pennsylvania in 1862. It was made of wood, two wooden boards in the shape of a “V” to funnel oil with the help of gravity and was 9 miles long. In 1879, the first trunk line, or iron pipe line was built by independent oilmen, also in Pennsylvania, and was called Tidewater. It had pumps and reinforced joints to transport up to 2,000 barrels of oil daily across five miles of land. Within a year, Rockefeller owned half of Tidewater and began laying pipelines from PA to Buffalo, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and New York and within a decade, Rockefeller dominated nearly the entire oil industry to include refining, pipelines, and rail shipments.
Today, fossil fuel and big oil is big business and because of the profit margin, the oil industry is blocking solar and wind alternatives. “In 2015, oil companies spent $11 million on successfully killing a provision in California’s SB 350 climate bill to halve petroleum use by 2030. Coal-burning utilities have tried to penalize consumers for installing rooftop solar. In Europe, Shell successfully lobbied against targets for renewable energy.”
The longest oil pipeline in the US, at 1,678 miles long, starts in Colorado and ends in Ohio. The longest pipeline in the world is in China and runs 5,410 miles long. “But the US has the largest network of energy pipelines in the world, with more than 2.4 million miles of pipe. The network of crude oil pipelines in the U.S. is extensive. There are approximately 72,000 miles of crude oil lines in the U.S. that connect regional markets.”
These pipes are predominantly buried under the skin of our earth. The oil industry insists that pipelines are safe but ruptures and leaks are a daily occurrence. Reported incidences of crude oil and liquefied natural gas leaks that have occurred on US pipelines since 2010 totals over 3,300 oil leaks since 2010 in the US alone!
Horrifying, isn’t it? Especially when you consider that nearly half of America’s crude oil pipelines are over five decades old and subject to corrosion and failure. “It’s inevitable that as pipelines age, as they are exposed to the elements, eventually they are going to spill,” said Tony Iallonardo of the National Wildlife Federation. “They’re ticking time bombs.” Only 139 federal pipeline inspectors are responsible for examining over 2.6 million miles of pipelines, clearly not enough to ensure the integrity of our nation’s aging and failing pipeline infrastructure.
Here is a US pipeline accident report, which only includes reports issued since 1996. The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is recorded as being the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry from which, members of the community of Bayou Labatre are sick from toxicity and environmental problems and continue to die. Not to mention the physical, psychological, social, and economic factors that have destroyed those affected by this massive disaster. The cover-up for the Gulf Oil spill worked and convinced citizens outside of the affected communities that the problem has been solved. Even though 16,000 total miles of coastline have been affected, media attention was diverted to the next catastrophe. That underwater pipeline continues to leak to this day and may well keep spilling crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico indefinitely.
In Arizona, where I live, there are enough sunny days per year to generate a consistent source of solar power. As a result, many people, including me, have had solar roof panels installed. The utility company in Arizona called Arizona Public Service (APS) is losing profits due to this and imposes a fee upon those who install solar panels, a fee that they are wanting to quadruple. Why? Because people using solar panels produce more power than they use and as a result, their energy bills decrease. The extra power is pumped back into the grid and the utility company is required to credit or pay the homeowner a small sum of money.
As a result, governments and huge corporations are attempting to corner the market on solar; i.e. developing technologies that will require future solar consumers to purchase solar directly from the utility companies as opposed to generating it ourselves. “Big Solar Business” continues in its attempts to make this renewable, clean resource unattainable. This article precisely explains the ramifications to utility companies.
With that said, and taking a deep breath, I will move on from this important topic now. Knowledge is power and we must remain diligent. Thank you for bearing with me.