There Are No Safe Pipelines

John Hanno response to


September 10, 2016

“There Are No Safe Pipelines”

We stand with Dakota Access water protectors. We fought to protect the well on our small organic farm in Illinois. Canadian Co. Enbridge, who just purchased 49% of DAPL, wanted to run line 78 across our farm. Line 78 connects with Flanagan South and then DAPL at Patoka, Illinois. Our fight with Enbridge is at

We also joined many environmental organizations in the Midwest trying to protect the Great Lakes, which holds one fifth of the worlds fresh water. Our well water comes from the Great Lakes Basin aquifer. We’re involved in the fights against the onslaught of Enbridge’s pipeline expansion in the Great Lakes region. We support the efforts to shutdown line 3 and it’s replacement in Wisconsin, and line 5, which runs through the straights of Mackinac. We supported Minnesotan’s who stopped Sandpiper. We support those fighting against Plains pipeline company trying to get approval to ship heavy crude through a 98 year old pipeline (built in 1918) that runs under the St Clair river and upstream of the Detroit and other communities water intakes. We don’t need another Flint. Michigan disaster.

A Miami Herald article this week reported that: “Exxon Mobil Corp. will pay $12 million for environmental damages caused by a pipeline break that spilled 63,000 gallons (238,474 liters) of crude into Montana’s Yellowstone River and prompted a national debate over lax pipeline safety rules….”

The simple fact is that there are no safe oil pipelines, especially tar sand pipelines. This is why the Standing Rock Protectors fighting DAPL, are standing their ground and will not give up. Pipelines are: made of steel, buried in the ground, sometimes underwater, carry corrosive substances (even sand particles), under extremely high pressure and subject to corroding, rusting, delaminating, chemical reactions and bursting wide open. And all the assurances given by pipeline companies that they have the latest safeguards are bull pucky. In every pipeline spill, the autopsy was the same: “the pipeline company failed” (fill in the blank), to detect, to respond to, to respond to quickly enough, to get to the remote location, due to inclement weather, by thinking the alarms were a mistake, by stopping the pumping but then starting again. The NTSB described Enbridge’s response to the Kalamazoo River spill as “the Keystone Cops.” That 2010 tar sand spill is still not fully cleaned up and never will be. They just purchased 49% of Dakota Access.

This Montana pipeline, which is upstream of Billings, contaminated 85 miles of the Yellowstone River. This is exactly why Standing Rock Native Americans are so opposed to a pipeline upstream of their Rez. Who knows how far a spill would travel down the  Missouri? Probably to the Gulf of Mexico. It could contaminate drinking water for 17 million or more American’s

This Montana pipeline was 20 year old. Kalamazoo River line 6B was 40 years old and had at least 15,000 defects. The Santa Barbara pipeline was 46 years old. Google the pictures; it looks like a 50 year old excavated tin can. Some recent spills in Alberta were in very young pipelines (one was only 2 years old). The 65 year old Enbridge Line 5 pipeline under the straights of Mackinac, could contaminate at least 2 Great Lakes and at least 700 miles of shoreline in Canada and the U.S. if it bursts.  And if that’s not risky enough, Plains pipeline company is trying to get approval to ship heavy crude through a 98 year old pipeline (built in 1918) that runs under the St Clair river and upstream of the Detroit and other communities water intakes. America, you’ve lost your Fracking mind!

The environmental community has quit trying to influence the U.S. Congress. Unless Citizens United is overturned, there’s no hope of a comprehensive energy reform bill that must place alternative sustainable energy ahead of business as usual fossil fuel interests. Even when oil was well over $100 a barrel and we had (and have) an enormous glut of oil reserves, Congress wouldn’t even discuss eliminating oil subsidies. And at the same time, alt right Republicans labeled incentives for wind and solar as socialist plots to undermine America’s energy independence.

Red state legislatures, their regulatory agencies and consequently their state courts are joined at the hip with fossil fuel corporations. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and even some in blue states Illinois and California have sold their souls to the drilling, fracking, injecting and pipeline devils and forsaken the health and safety of their residents.

When America can’t depend on their elected officials (Sorry Flint) to protect its citizens basic rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, our political process is broken and democratic principles destroyed.

Even though alternative energy is growing exponentially and getting cheaper by the hour, red states routinely side with fossil fuel, and oppose wind and solar at every turn. Red state officials blessed with the greatest wind and solar potential often erect obstacles to residents willing to invest in those energies.

The Texas state legislature (and legislatures in other red states like Oklahoma, Ohio and Pennsylvania as well) have overturned any attempt by cities and communities to place common sense local restrictions on drilling, fracking, injection wells and pipelines. You can drill, frack, inject or place pipelines within shouting distance of homes, schools and businesses. And their state Environmental Protection Agencies turn a blind eye, as they did in Flint, Michigan. Who in their right mind would invest hard earned money in a home or business in these environments? And why would voters reelect candidates who would devalue their homes, properties and communities?

But in spite of this opposition, even some red state sectors are joining the revolution. North Carolina (unlike sunny red states Florida and Arizona) has overcome staunch opposition, to become the number 2 state with installed solar, behind only California. Oil rich Texas (number one) and Iowa (number two), now produce more wind energy than they can reliably deliver to cities in need because of a lack of infrastructure.

The potential for renewable energy is irrefutable. Depending on who’s opinion you use; “Sunlight Striking Earth’s Surface in Just One Hour Delivers Enough Energy to Power the World Economy for an Entire Year.” or “In 14 and a half seconds, the sun provides as much energy to Earth as humanity uses in a day.” or There’s enough wind energy potential within the corridor from Texas up through Illinois to power the entire nation, if only the electrical power grid infrastructure were in place. Our Energy Department has invested in tidal research but we haven’t scratched the surface of that energy. Although our U.S. government and military have put more than $330 million into marine energy research over the past decade, Britain and Europe have invested more than $1 billion. We can do better. The DOE believes 20 to 30% of America’s energy could come from wave energy. They just announced our first wave generated energy went online this week in Hawaii. The power travels by undersea cable to a military base, where it feeds into Oahu’s power grid. America’s first off shore wind farm went online last week and will produce enough energy for 17,000 homes.

If you’re a true conservative, you must favor alternative sustainable energy over fossil fuel. If you believe in god and his blessings of clean air, fertile soil and pure water, then you must support the Standing Rock Earth Protectors. And if you worry about your children’s and grand children’s future, you must vote in November for only earth protectors. This election is an important turning point in the fight to preserve humanity. If your candidates deny climate change or say they aren’t scientists and don’t know enough to make rational decisions about our climate and comprehensive energy reform, kick them to the curb. They’re too ignorant or corrupt to deserve your vote.

I believe American’s can stop Keystone clone Dakota Access, shut down Line 3 and it’s replacement and eventually shut down line 5, if we stand up in unprecedented numbers. It’s our responsibility as thinking human beings, to oppose and delay the damage being done by fossil fuel interests, including the banks and investors they’re leveraged to, until sustainable energy can prevail.

More than 100,000 concerned folks have already shown support for this peaceful Native American DAPL protest and donated close to a million dollars to their valiant cause. The Sacred Stone Camp Protectors have earned the respect and support of America’s environmental and progressive communities. Native Americans have a sacred and spiritual connection to their land and water. They and most farm families cherish the blessings Americans have been given with fertile land and pure water. I believe the only hope of stopping this pipeline insanity lies with President Obama and an executive order. But President Obama has stated many times that he can’t act alone. Common Sense American’s, including True Conservatives, must stand up in such numbers that the President can’t ignore his duty to protect our environment. Please Vote in November for Earth Protectors! John Hanno

Tommy   I am in awe of your statement, in the point of view you come from.

John   Tommy, Thank You.

Frances   Very well put! None could’ve said it better! Now people have a better understanding of how dangerous these pipelines are. I do anyway! I am a Native Member of the Lakota and am VERY concerned!

John    Corporations make decisions based on the bottom line of the next quarter. Native American tradition tells them to make decisions based on what’s beneficial for the next seven generations. What is best for humanity?

Kathy  brilliant explanation of facts, in solidarity with earth protectors

Maia  John  Thank you for a wonderfully informative and passionate comment!

John  Maia   Thank You. Just trying to do my part.

Maia    Richly descriptive and heartfelt report on the camps near Standing Rock, thank you. I very much appreciate that the focus here is not only on the present struggle against DAPL but on the overall, earth-wide struggle we must all be engaged in, inspired by native peoples everywhere.

Starting today, I am contacting banks which are currently lending financial support toward the pipeline construction and asking them to consider what that support is actually doing, and putting at risk. Even if they do nothing, they will know that people care enough to write a letter of objection to what’s happening and each bank’s support of injustice. I urge everyone who wants to stop the DAPL to join me in this. If you would like a list of banks lending money toward DAPL and email/physical addresses, respond to this comment and I will copy paste the list I got from a YES article online. Or you can go to YES Magazine and look for the recent articles on DAPL and Standing Rock. Thank you.

Author: John Hanno

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Bogan High School. Worked in Alaska after the earthquake. Joined U.S. Army at 17. Sergeant, B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 84th Artillery, 7th Army. Member of 12 different unions, including 4 different locals of the I.B.E.W. Worked for fortune 50, 100 and 200 companies as an industrial electrician, electrical/electronic technician.

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