One might think that pipelines are safer than other ways of transporting these fuels. The value of human lives cannot be quantified, but for the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, the Quebec government requests nearly $400 million from the railway company. Of course, the insurance owned by the railroad company responsible for this section only covered up to 25 million in damages and therefore it went bankrupt. These same dynamics, where insurance premiums are requested by governments for risky projects, are also present in the pipeline. For example, Enbridge’s 6B pipeline in the US had a leak in 2010 that cost over $1.2 billion to clean up . While new pipelines are reporting ever higher flows, the insurance required for construction remains minimal, and it is the general public that will end up footing the bill. Since no company which transports oil and gas seems to be able to manage the consequences of potential spills, these fuels should remain in the ground.
Moreover, this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of decontamination, since it is only the consequences associated with the transportation of oil and gas. Shipping is a major concern as well, as spills will be much more numerous when billions of liters of natural gas are transshipped daily. Mining operations are notorious for leaving behind significant cleanup costs for communities. Think of the radon- contaminated slag heaps in Thetford Mines or the holes left behind by the old iron mines in Schefferville. Mining companies have always left behind devastated spaces that will never be the same. Not only is mining slowed down by blocking the pipelines, but the development of new mining sites is also put on hold.