so how safe is it to just turn off a valve?

well, first, let’s be real. it’s enbridge that puts us at risk, every single day. it’s the tarsands that put us at risk; every single day.

the tarsands are actively shortening and ending lives.

every. single. day.

so let’s talk about the safety of actions against pipelines in the context of those facts. let’s re-frame the discussions we’re having, and talk about how turning off the pipeline is actually the safest course of action. how an inactive pipelines is safer than letting one run unimpeded.

but if that’s not enough for you, here are a few other things that make you feel better about the actions of a brave few.

  1. physical build: pipelines are built with valves. valves turn off or later flow. thus, common sense says the structure and condition of the pipeline should be enough to contain its contents under those conditions. shutting off valves is not an uncommon practice in the industry.
  2. surge mitigation & safety features: shutting off a valve suddenly does create a pressure surge. this surge, however, is mitigated and safely handled through basic pipeline structure as well as safety features of pipelines including surge relief valves and automatic shutoffs which are mandated by pipeline legislation. years ago government engineers decided that surges from sudden valve closures did not create enough of a threat to allow companies to exclude valves in their system designs.
  3. precedence. ‘nuff said.
  4. phonecalls. in the case of daytime actions taken so far, those involved gave enbridge a heads-up about what was about to happen. in this context especially, it’s easy to see there was never really any threat – to the environment, or to life.

it’s SO important to note that we don’t provide these arguments in the context of action taken against pipelines as being unsafe. we refuse to buy in to that rhetoric and narrative. once again – it is the extraction, refining and transportation of crude that is unsafe and threatens lives. any action taken against those is action based in self-defense – and defense of the land and water.