The debate is not as clear cut as presented in this Globe and Mail article:
With pipelines under attack, railways lead race to move oil
There are pipeline spills across the country that have never been cleaned up and where regulators, the NEB in particular, have ignored their own regulatory enforcement responsibilities. The government and the NEB are now in the process of creating new environmental regulations that allow the NEB to decide if a pipeline spill is cleaned up, rather than the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency or Provincial Environmental Agencies.
At least rail is transparent, above ground, and in sight. It appears, after years of privilege, they now function under the same Canadian liability and environmental laws as the rest of us.
Perhaps it is time for the archaic pipeline legislation to come out of the stone age.
Pipelines operate under privileged regulatory legislation that exempt them from standard contractual, property, liability and environmental laws, much the way the rail system used to operate.