Leaky oil pipe better than more dead soldiers

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By Ben Carlson

Since it first popped up as an issue last year, I’ve been asked time and again when I will take an editorial stance on the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline.
In fact, there are several folks who have flat-out demanded that I do so, either to draw me out as a pipeline proponent or hold me aloft as yet another member of the media to fall in line by opposing it.
It’s not that I haven’t had an opinion about the topic; it’s just that I typically reserve my praise and criticism for the actions — usually related to taxes — of local government and its offshoots.
Besides, I’ve never been too keen on telling people what they can or can’t do with the property they’ve worked and paid for, and certainly don’t intend to start now.
First know that I consider myself an environmentalist, but from the perspective of a hunter who wants a clean place for my family, along with the animals I intend to kill and eat. Polluted land and water get in the way of that.
Second know that I’m more than aware that the proposed pipeline — just like the tens of thousands just like it that crisscross our nation — is fully capable of springing a leak at best, causing an environmental disaster at worst.
Putting in this pipeline poses risks, even with oversight from agencies ranging from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection. Even the fellows who want to build it can’t or have even tried to deny it.
So we have to ask ourselves if it’s worth it.
My answer is yes, and for those who didn’t just throw the paper in the trash, please allow me to explain.
For decades our nation has been sending its children into Middle Eastern war zones to ensure the free flow of oil. Call it a war on terror, protecting Israel or a war to free Kuwait and it all comes to the same thing: we’re protecting oil flow because without it, our economy comes to a crashing halt.
To do so, we’ve sacrificed the lives, limbs, eyes and futures of thousands of young men and women, along with trillions in national treasure.
Right here in Lawrenceburg at least two families have buried a loved one who lost his life fighting terrorism, and plenty more who have received the most horrifying phone call a soldier’s parent can receive — that their son or daughter has been seriously injured.
Many have returned home from their duties physically unscathed, but talk to them as I have and realize that the scars they bear are forever buried deeply in their hearts and minds.
Need a visual reminder of how rotten these wars have been? Visit the Healing Field and look at the dozens of flags that serve as memorials to Kentucky soldiers killed in the war on terror.
Is that reason enough to have a pipeline that supports fracking operations that can — if the federal government stays out of the way — allow us to ditch or dependency on foreign oil? You bet it is, and those who say otherwise need to drag their children or grandchildren to the nearest recruiter’s office and let them carry a rifle into the next oil-based war that comes along.
Or better yet, pick up a rifle and go themselves.
Will this pipeline or fracking or any other energy source end the hatred those in the Middle East have for us? Absolutely not. Folks there hate us for a variety of purposes, but our meddling in their nations is rooted mostly in our need of their oil. When the day comes we have our own oil, most of that meddling can come to a halt.
As can the insanity of sacrificing our children and treasure to those who would prefer to see us dead.
Is this the popular or easy stance to take on this issue? No, and it will likely cause me a fair amount of grief along with more than a few subscriptions.
If that’s the response of those opposed to the pipeline, fine, I can live with that.
I wonder, though, if those who fret more over the possibility of a leaky oil pipe than the lives of other people’s children will be able to do the same.