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Stats on the subject are easy to come by, rail is significantly more likely to have a spill for the same amount of product moved per mile, the rail guys admit this.

My earlier post did not dispute the raw statistics, but rather raised a question as to what's included in them. There are, unfortunately, railroads that are very responsible and railroads that are totally irresponsible when it comes to safety and the consequent likelihood of a spill.

They are also significantly more expensive (the numbers are closer on Bitumen due to the dilution) and there is a limit to how much they can ramp up though they do have more flexibility while waiting for the pipelines to catch up. They also need specially built loading and unloading facilities and tanks in order to move large quantities.

Yes, there is no doubt of this -- and a dedicated pipeline is also much less susceptible to disruptions caused by weather along its route than rail service. There is no doubt that a pipeline is the superior solution if one foresees more or less continuous shipment of large volumes of a product over the course of a protrated period of time -- typically at least two or three decades. That said, the funding of a pipeline should include some sort of escrow for its removal and restoration of the land at the end of its useful life.

Statistics are always a challenge, if one railway moves one rail car load of oil without an accident they are 100% successful while the workhorse that moves tens of thousands of rail cars full of oil and has one accident gets the headlines.

True. Here, though, the issue is what happens when one railroad moves tens of thousands of carloads with one accident while another railroad moves the same number of carloads the same distance with fifteen or twenty accidents. If one combines the statistics from both railroads as though they were the same, it makes the good railroad look much worse than it is.

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