America's network of oil and gas transmission and distribution pipelines sometimes get bad press, and it's true that leaks can have serious consequences. But pipelines are still far better than the alternatives, experts say, and most leaks can be avoided if workers take their responsibilities seriously. "It's by far -- by far -- the safest way to transport materials," says one safety consultant. "If you were to try to transport that amount of material by truck ... you'd have greater environmental problems and greater safety problems."

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