Published in February, 2019
It’s protestors, not pipelines, that are unsafe
By Sean Corbett
Criminal acts don’t just impact the delivery of energy we all rely on. Pipeline trespassing and damage affects the nearby community, the environment, the safety of the employees… and even protestors themselves.
Pipeline operation requires highly specialized skills. Valve tampering puts a protestor in serious physical danger. A pipeline failure or release can happen if a manually operated valve is closed without notice.
So protestors can end up harming themselves and the environment they claim to protect. Of course, protestors will be prosecuted for such sabotage. But that’s cold comfort for the local landowner with destroyed property. Or for you, when you need to turn the heat on.
A Reliable and Safe Pipeline System
We are connected to the energy we need every day by a complex network of pipelines. Ongoing data and performance checks keep the systems running smoothly.
For example, at Enbridge, safety features include:
• Constant monitoring for emergency action
• Remotely controlled valves that can be closed in an emergency
• Automatic over-pressure protection that safely shuts down the pipeline in case of blockage
• Pressure relief systems to maintain proper operation
• Leak detection equipment that notifies control centres
We Need Discussion, Not Illegal Acts
There are many opinions on the transport and use of energy. Most people can express their views without dangerous criminal acts. Protestors who put their fellow citizens and the environment in harm’s way do not advance this discussion.
Enbridge is open about its projects and operations, and it is natural that people would voice their concerns about issues that affect us all.
True progress is made through dialogue, not sabotage.
Sean Corbett is a Calgary-based writer and filmmaker. He runs the marketing agency Repria Multimedia Corp.
Published in PIPELINE OBSERVER SPRING 2017