No. of Recommendations: 4
No longer moving much US light crude, our pipelines are carrying large quantities of tar sands oil from Canada (see below for State of the National Pipeline Infrastructure) most of which is exported to foreign countries. The Pegasus pipeline, which recently spilled tar sands oil in Arkansas near their capital, was built in 1948. It no longer delivers conventional crude oil from Nederland, TX, to the Patoka Oil Terminal Hub in Patoka, IL. At some point light crude oil switched to heavy oil.
Using aging, retrofitted pipelines to ship oil — what could go wrong?
There are 175,000 miles of onshore and offshore “Hazardous Liquid” pipelines pumping petroleum and its byproducts across the US... From 1990 to 2011, more than 110 million gallons of mostly crude oil and petroleum products spilled from these pipelines, many of which now carry chemicals that are much different than those for which they were designed.
“Why should pipeline companies apply for permits and go through tedious environmental impact statements [required for new pipelines],” she asks, “when you can repurpose an old pipeline with little, if any, environmental scrutiny from a state agency, and with little resistance from landowners who already have an existing line in the ground?”

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In spite of its gradually improving safety performance, some pipe has been in the ground for a long time. Over 50% of the nation's pipelines were constructed in the 1950's and 1960's during the creation of the interstate pipeline network built in response to the huge demand for energy in the thriving post-World War II economy. Some pipelines were built even earlier. Approximately 3% of our gas distribution mains are made of cast or wrought iron and were built in the first half of the 20th century. Over 12% of the nation’s cross-country gas transmission and hazardous liquid pipelines were built prior to the 1950's. Each of these types of pipelines has its own unique age (and even material) distribution. Figure 5 below depict the percentage of pipelines constructed by decade (50s = 1950’s) for each of the three types of regulated pipelines. (pages 6 and 7)
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