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Organization sparks backlash with tweet calling out activists: 'Would you call that 'safe'? We don't'

"Each dot represents damage, injury, or death."

"Each dot represents damage, injury, or death.”

Photo Credit: iStock

A tweet from an oil and gas organization recently fanned the flames of an ongoing feud with environmentalists, and one group called its bluff in response.

In October, the Oil & Gas Workers Association (OGWA) tweeted, "Don't let the @juststopoil, @SierraClub, and @CenterForBioDiv people lie to you. Pipelines are a safe and efficient way to transport the #ReliableAffordableEnergy our oil and natural gas jobs produce."

That didn't sit well with the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, which responded: "How 'safe' are pipelines? This video based on federal data shows pipeline incidents from 1986 to 2013. Each dot represents damage, injury, or death."

The interactive map showed thousands of dots representing 8,382 incidents. The key indicated that these were associated with 532 fatalities, 2,475 injuries, and about $7.5 trillion in property damage.

"Would you call that 'safe'?" the organization asked. "We don't."

According to the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), spills and leaks during oil and gas extraction and transport can pollute our drinking water. According to the organization, about 17.7 million Americans are exposed to toxic air pollution from active oil and gas wells and transport and processing facilities. In 2016 alone, U.S. oil and gas production caused 410,000 asthma exacerbations, according to one study. 

Burning oil and gas also contributes to the overheating of our planet. Meanwhile, new technologies offer an alternative to using fossil fuels in our everyday lives. For instance, scientists have discovered a way to make solar panels more affordable and efficient using a mineral called perovskite.

"There's no such thing as 'safe' fossil fuels," one commenter said. "The OGWA should know better."

Several people also responded critically to OGWA's original post, with one saying, "Didn't we have an incident 4 years (ago) where a whole river of oil was left to flow for a while in the southern Central Valley? Yeah, sounds very safe and efficient."

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