Taking the lead

Building oil and gas pipelines hits terrain and surrounding habitat as no other industry activity.Sure, processing plants occupy large tracts of land. And drilling and production operations can do the same, for however brief a time.But installing pipelines on land requires cutting paths across the countryside. There's no other way to do it. Pipelay crews rip through fields and forests, drill under or dig or blast across waterways and lakes.And the changes to the land are permanent, of necessity: The cleared pipeline right-of-way must remain accessible for inspections and repairs. You simply cannot restore forest over a buried oil pipeline and hope to get to it when you need to.What ha...

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