From Common Dreams: “US Oil Pipeline Industry Quietly Building Network That ‘Dwarfs Keystone'”

Common Dreams published this piece yesterday which mentions Enbridge, Inc., the company who built the Flanagan South. The piece makes the important point that a network of pipelines is being built across the United States with little public comment or mainstream attention. In our documentary, interviewees Lorin Crandall and Mike Diel, also make this point in discussing the Keystone XL in relation to the Flanagan South. By focusing our attention on one single pipeline that relies on approval from the State Department (not an environmental department), we loose sight of the broader fossil-fuel energy infrastructure and future fossil-fuel commitment of the United States.

The approval of new pipelines and pipeline conversions across the United States is allowing for the construction of an entire network of fossil fuel transportation that would exceed the capacity of one single pipeline. Local groups, including those in shown in our documentary, have opposed pipelines in their own states. Due to the current permitting and regulatory practices surrounding pipeline construction and conversion, often little can be done to stop these “local” pipelines from being built (the impact of these pipelines is felt both locally and nationally). However, prospective national opposition to this entire network of pipelines (instead of just opposition to one or two) might turn the tide.

The article also cites the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the part of the Department of Transportation our interviewee Danny Ferguson discusses in our documentary.

Read the Common Dreams article here: US Oil Pipeline Industry Quietly Building Network That ‘Dwarfs Keystone’.

Thoughts from our Screening at the Center for Spirituality & Sustainability

Thanks to the Center for Spirituality & Sustainability and the Piasa Palisades Sierra Club for hosting us tonight and inviting us to share our documentary! Hearing perspectives from the community is not only fun and interesting but important to our work. We truly value being able to share our film in a community setting like tonight, where we can promote important discussions about the US energy infrastructure and fossil fuel projects that are impacted us close to home. When we set out to make From the Pipeline, we knew a community perspective was the one we wanted to capture most. We envisioned screening the film not just at festivals but in local community settings where people could talk about the film, ask questions, and hopefully, leave the screening feeling more connected and aware. From the Pipeline does not end with any call to action other than to go forward with new information and an expanded knowledge of how pipeline construction happens in our country. Being informed community members benefits us all. This is exactly what From the Pipeline is about, and we are truly grateful to have the opportunity to connect our work to local communities at a grassroots level.

Pipeline Conversion in Southern Illinois

On Monday night we’ll be screening From the Pipeline at the Center for Spirituality and Sustainability on SIUE’s campus. Also coming to Southern Illinois may be a pipeline conversion, that like the Flanagan South, is reflective of our nation’s commitment to a fossil fuel infrastructure.

The Texas-based company, Energy Transfer, has proposed a conversion of existing natural gas pipelines to turn them into crude oil pipelines. Some, including the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (who had a part in regulating the Flanagan South) have cited concerns that this type of conversion – gas to liquid – might compromised the integrity of the pipe.

The proposed pipeline conversion would be 500 miles long and runs underground through about eight counties in Illinois. The pipeline would run under parts of the Shawnee National Forest. The converted pipeline would carry crude oil, not tar sands.

In an article by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, citizens interviewed expressed that the project was not receiving much coverage even though it has been the works for several years – though under a different company name.

While a converted crude oil pipeline does not have much technically in common with a tar sands pipeline like the Flanagan South, the circumstances surrounding construction and approval are not all that different. Both pipelines are parts of much larger networks that are carry fossil fuels across the United States, through permitting at the State level with little public comment/awareness.

Our interviewees Adrian City Councilman Danny Ferguson and MCE Clean Water Program Director Lorin Crandall discuss the growth of pipeline networks in the United States and compare these expansions and conversions with the mainstream awareness about the Keystone XL. You can read transcripts of their interviews and watch informational video segments on our website.


Updates about the film on Sloup

A year ago we received funding from Sloup, an innovative monthly crowd-funding dinner event, to support our trip across Missouri. They posted updates about our film on their website to share with the Sloup community. Sloup and its founders were recently featured in STL Curator so check out the article here and attend the next Sloup dinner! Here’s the exciting updates they posted: