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The tech world should defend the Keystone pipeline

keystone-pipeline-route-map

By Denzil Doyle 

It is encouraging to see the emphasis that President Obama is placing on the jobs and other economic spinoffs that will be created by the proposed Keystone pipeline, because if the arithmetic is done properly the numbers will surprise even the staunchest opponents of the project. They will demonstrate that the pipeline industry is a mature industry that uses a broad range of proven technologies.

The communications between Canada’s scientific community and its politicians and bureaucrats leave a lot to be desired. The environmentalists would have us believe that whether we are talking about the north-south or the east-west pipeline, we are dealing with unproven technology. To hear them talk, one would think that they are the world’s first pipelines and they will leak continuously.

The fact of the matter is that there are over two million miles of pipeline in North America and they are monitored by over 20,000 devices called Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. Some of them have been in use since the early ’70s and the majority of them use satellite technology. A typical pipeline has a SCADA terminal at every pumping station and there is a pumping station about every hundred miles.

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