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Congress to discuss oil pipeline rules

A buried section of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline emerges a few miles north of the Yukon River.

Jeremy Hobson: Well in addition to a focus on the debt ceiling today in Washington. Congress will be looking at the safety of oil pipelines, following that Exxon oil spill in Montana's Yellowstone River earlier this month.

From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Eve Troeh reports.


Eve Troeh: Montana environmentalist Zach Porter says you can't look at the workers in hazmat suits along the Yellowstone River, and not wonder whether it's a good idea to build new, even bigger pipelines in the area.

Zach Porter: I think it really is questionable whether or not there is a safe way to do any of this.

This week, Congress will dissect the Exxon spill and discuss overall pipeline rules. Robert Johnston at the Eurasia group says lawmakers will likely focus on updating old infrastructure, rather than question new projects.

Robert Johnston: That'll be the politically powerful argument, right now at a time when oil prices are so high.

Some lawmakers want to build the Keystone XL pipeline A.S.A.P. It would run from Canada through Montana and down to Oklahoma. But incidents from the Gulf of Mexico BP spill last year to this latest Exxon spill have changed the debate.

Johnston: There have been a lot of mishaps that've made what would seem like a slam dunk approval a lot more complicated.

Meanwhile, that Canadian oil is already flowing into the U.S., just by train, barge and truck instead of a pipeline.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.
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