It’s not every day that accidents such as oil spills or natural gas explosions occur. But when they do, it’s one more reason that environmentalists use to push the cancellation of fossil fuels for energy.
Such tragedies can cause massive loss of life, not only in human beings but also in sea and animal life and organic materials such as plants. The hazardous materials can also seep into groundwater supplies, contaminate rivers and lakes, and do all sorts of harmful damage to the environment.
As a result, more and more scientists and biologists have turned to green and renewable energy forms to sustain power and electricity in our many communities.
However, as fossil fuels are the norm for many areas in the US and those green energy sources are not always reliable, as the state of Texas just learned, it’s simply not an option to cancel all oil and natural gas power. At least, not yet.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that ‘failures in coal and natural gas,' and not renewables, added to the energy shortage in Texas, leaving millions of people without power for a third day amid a severe winter storm https://t.co/hkcSbeinlc #TexasBlackout pic.twitter.com/y9Tv0xNr6b
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 18, 2021
Instead, it’s a much wiser choice for the moment to regulate and make changes to the way we harvest and transport these fossil fuels. For most, this means moving from using semi-tractor trailers and train cars filled with hazardous materials to installing pipelines that run under or over the ground.
After all, semis and trains have the common misfortune to crash or derail, leaving havoc in their wake.
On the other hand, Pipelines can safely transport oil without it ever having to be moved from vehicle to vehicle or come into contact with human hands or an oncoming cargo vessel.
Recently, America had an opportunity to join with Canada to create one of the longest oil pipelines in our history. The Keystone XL pipeline, as it was to be called, would have run from Alberta, Canada, all the way down to Texas, supplying oil to millions and in a very safe manner.
However, because newly-appointed President Biden has made promises to the environmental elite about slowing the use of fossil fuels and transforming America into a green energy capital, he decided to nix the entire project putting thousands out of a job and creating animosity between our northern neighbor and us.
According to the White House and the Associated Press, the pipeline wasn’t “consistent with new administration’s ‘economic and climate imperatives,’” and so couldn’t continue as planned.
Construction on the long disputed Keystone XL oil pipeline has been halted as President Joe Biden revoked its permit. Biden, on his first day in office, said the pipeline isn't consistent with the new administration's "economic and climate imperatives.” https://t.co/wgbOxCkIVZ
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 21, 2021
But the cancellation of the pipeline hasn’t really changed much in the way of oil or natural gas use in the US. Americans still rely on these fossil fuels to run their homes, heat their offices, and power their vehicles.
And since it can’t get to them by pipeline anymore, trains and semis are the only options.
But what happens when two of those oil or gas-filled vehicles collide?
Well, you get a massive explosion.
According to local news outlets, this is precisely what happened in Cameron, Texas, on Tuesday morning.
A train carrying five cars of gasoline was derailed around 7 am after being struck by an 18-wheeler truck. What resulted was an enormous explosion and fire, causing the evacuation of everyone and everything for a half-mile.
⚠️‼️EXPLOSION AND FIRE reported this morning in Milam County, TX. FM 2095 southeast of Cameron. Avoid area!
18-wheeler vs. train. No details on injuries or deaths. We have crew on the way.
— Rusty Surette (@KBTXRusty) February 23, 2021
But it could have been even worse.
Apparently, just a few cars behind the gasoline were other cars filled with hazardous materials. Luckily, these were not impacted.
Milam County Sheriff Chris White told KXAN-TV, “There was some hazardous materials a little farther back, so by the grace of God we were saved on that one.
— Ryan Kyburz (@ryan_kyburz) February 23, 2021
In addition, it was reported that miraculously, no one was injured or killed.
BNSF Railways Senior Director of External Communications Courtney Wallace told Fox News, “There were no injuries to the crew or the truck driver. Local first responders and BNSF personnel are onsite to respond to the incident. Out of an abundance of caution, local authorities have established a half-mile radius evacuation zone near the site. The cause is under investigation.”
To be clear, the incident could have been much, much worse. We might not get so lucky the next time.
Biden says he wants to eliminate fossil fuels from the US, and one day, that might be able to happen. However, that day is not even in sight.
And until then, we need to have some way to keep the power on. Cutting out pipelines that will allow that to happen in a much safer way just doesn’t make sense.