Oilmen, not monsters


Natalie Scott, Reporter

In today’s society, technology and social media have taken over everything and have influenced views in positive and negative ways. Because social media has a big influence on teenagers, I feel as if it has brought out inflamed opinions on political and environmental issues. After the huge issues surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline, many teenagers have false beliefs about oilfield workers and the oilfield industry.

There are over 2.1 million miles of pipelines in service today, and for 16 years I have been learning more and more about this industry. My father used to own a pipeline construction company and now manages pipeline construction all over the United States. Being near the pipeline construction business, I want to shed some light on the fact that my dad and everyone in his line of work are not pocket-padding, environment-destroying monsters.

Many of the concerns brought upon the oilfield business are the harmful impacts on the environment. Many jobs are required by the government to bring a team of environmentalists to the construction site depending on the specific job and situation. However, many companies such as my dad’s choose to bring environmentalists around because they are mindful about what they are doing. Even if the tiniest drop of product is leaked while it is being monitored, a three-inch stack of paperwork is filled out and the pipeline is repaired. Although, improved regulations in the past few years have brought down average failure rate down to less than %1, according to the Oil and Gas Journal.

“Pipelines are damaging to the environment. Oil companies have a certain amount of oil that can be leaked without them having to report it, so it pollutes our water sources and they cover up issues rather than fixing them. Overall they’re a detriment to the environment and our water sources across the country,” said former DHS student Aleashea Prescott.

Using pipelines is the safer and more environmentally friendly alternative to transport oil and gas in the United States. Importing oil across the Atlantic Ocean in boats or taking it across the country in trucks or trains is far more harmful to nature than a pipeline three to eight feet underground depending on the soil, and 65-85 feet underground below a body of water. In November 1990, Congress addressed hazards of underwater pipelines through amendments to the Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act of 1979 and the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968, which required the Secretary of Transportation to establish a mandatory periodic inspection program of all pipeline facilities offshore, or crossing under, over, or through water if the Secretary decides that the location of the facility in those waters could pose a hazard to navigation or public safety. (According to the Federal Register)

Trucks and boats put more pollution into the air than an underground pipeline does, and you’re using fossil fuels to transport more fossil fuels. Also, with railroad and vehicle transportation, there is the potential for major accidents such as derailments or wrecks.

The manager of pipeline construction at Sunland, Dan Scott spoke for many in his company when he said, “The client(s) that we work for usually supplies surveys, permits and environmental studies that are done by the gas company itself and done by local, state and federal agencies whether it’s the Forest Service, BLM, EPA or several different groups that provide the safety information to us. For example we put different erosion control measures, make sure everyone’s aware of any endangered species or archeological sites, those are marked off and protected. Not to mention we are constantly monitoring the project during and after its construction.”

Everything we use on a daily basis relies on the oil and gas industry, such as gas to fill our cars, water bottles, heat for our houses and schools, sidewalks, and much more. Since this product is so vital the companies are taking any and all measures they can to keep projects as environmentally friendly as possible. Oil companies are filled with good people who have environmental and human interests at heart. They take careful measures to prevent catastrophes. We should trust in their ability to do so.