Nov 23, 2016

Coming Down the Pipe

Illinois, Dakota Access Pipeline, pipeline, oil, water, water quality, accident

Over the past few months, social media has been filled with political posts in the U.S. People have been openly sharing their adoration or disdain for political figures, particularly the presidential candidates, and those posts have overshadowed news about the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Protestors have stationed themselves along the pipeline route since September with signs and chants announcing their concern about how the pipeline would impact sacred ground. And many others are concerned for the quality of their water, an issue that extends as far south as Illinois.

The Prairie Rivers Network, an Illinois-based affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation, analyzed the the pipeline’s path through the Land of Lincoln and found almost 30,000 people could be directly impacted by the Dakota Access Pipeline were it to burst.

The concern of burst oil pipelines is not unwarranted. According to a January 2014 article in The Wall Street Journal, there were 1,400 pipeline spills between 2000 and 2013. And of those spills, only one in five was discovered by pipeline operators, meaning residents often were the first to notice a problem.

Oil is an important resource, especially in our commuter economy, but it is clear there are also risks involved with a pipeline of this magnitude. Perhaps regulators should take a closer look at these spills to determine better means of monitoring and notification, much like they have done in the wake of the Flint, Mich., crisis when dealing with lead contamination and lead pipe.

Are you concerned about potential pipeline accidents in your area? Why or why not? Let us know at