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One picture of that 1999 Olympic Pipeline leak and fire that killed 3 people and burned 1 1/2 mile of land along Whatcom Creek in Bellingham.  Area is now in recovery. 

Smoke over downtown Bellingham as it was starting to subside.

From my letters to the editors, Bellingham Herald.

Higher oil cost may be a blessing in disguise

Three deaths, caused by the Olympic Pipe Line leak, has gotten our community to pause from its day to day life and think about pipeline safety.  Pipeline safety is important, but an even bigger threat lies at the consumer end of the pipe.  Thousands of people die each year in traffic fatalities while they are consuming the product that oil pipelines deliver. 

Just think how much better this world would be if the entire community stopped to think each time it suffered a traffic fatality. It might get people to drive more carefully and sparingly.  It might get more people to wear seat belts.  It might get more drunk drivers off the road.  If the community would stop and think, each time there was a traffic death, it could get more people to use public transit.  Public transit has a much better safety record than the private automobile.  Remembering traffic fatalities might get people to live closer to their jobs and do more walking or bicycling. 

The entire oil economy needs to slow down a bit for safety.  If safer pipelines add to the cost of the product it could be a blessing in disguise.

Letter, August 1999