West Virginia Oil Tanker Fire 0215 WOAYI am a conservationist.

What that means is that I have a lifestyle of conserving and preserving. Especially nature. It doesn’t mean that I’m political. Or even anti-development.

On the other hand, I have ceased being political. Whether I’m “liberal” or “conservative” (as if anyone really knows what all falls under those labels!) bores me. Don’t care for the discussion.

But it’s a weird world. Take industrial risk management. I guess that there are many “conservationists” who do not want to build the oil pipeline known as Keystone. They are afraid of oil spills.

OK, that means one of two things–either they wish to live in a petroleum-free society or they endorse shipping massive amounts of oil across our nation via rail. I’d like to see them accomplish the former. And look at the unintended consequences of rail-based shipping, especially when we as a nation do not really care about upgrading the infrastructure.

If you study the comparative risks, oops, looks like pipelines are a better option.

One of my economics professors used to say that people never really vote their economic interests because they are voting emotions. Interesting observation think about it. Maybe the conservationists are actually achieving the opposite of their desired outcome. Wouldn’t be the first time in politics that happened. Won’t be the last.

Now, I’d never tell you to rush right out and email your congressperson. Even if they had not voted already, it would be too late. I’m in favor of the movement to require congresspersons to wear jackets like those the NASCAR drivers do–there’s a patch that shows who all their sponsors are!

But I do think that no matter your politics that you should stop and think that maybe you’re supporting an outcome that is exactly opposite of what you think you are.

It’s a good business and engineering idea, too. Maybe you’re too stuck on an idea that you’ve missed the real solution.

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