The Illegal Vodka Pipeline You Never Knew Existed

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=pipeline&search_group=#id=115685029&src=qi9mB5-NNjh34LXW-63Dyg-1-7">Oleinik Dmitri</a>/Shutterstock; <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-42022465/stock-photo-old-barrels-isolated-on-white-background.html?src=dt_p-88626481-2">JirkaBursik </a>/Shutterstock

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On Monday, a pipeline transporting molasses from a storage tank to a ship burst, spilling 233,000 gallons of sugary syrup into Honolulu Harbor. The disaster has devastated marine life and sent local agencies scrambling to clean up. But there was another obvious takeaway: Really, molasses moves in pipelines?

Yes, and it’s not alone.

 

Molasses

BW Folsom /Shutterstock

Length: Unknown

Where: Honolulu

Used by: Shipping company Matson Navigation

Status: Still active.

 

Vodka

kaband/Shutterstock

Length: .3 miles

Where:  Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan

Used by: Smugglers

Status: Shut down by Kyrgyz customs officials in August.

 

Vodka

Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock; Aaron Amat/Shutterstock

Length: 1 mile

Where: Russia to Estonia

Used by: Smugglers

Status: Shut down by customs officials in 2008.

 

Moonshine

Everett Collection/Shutterstock

Length: 2 miles

Where: Belarus to Lithuania

Used by: Smugglers

Status: Shut down by customs officials in 2004.

 

Fried chicken

Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Length: 650 feet

Where: Egypt to Gaza City

Used by: Smugglers, charging $27 for a 12-piece bucket of KFC.

Status: Still open. Maybe.

(Ed: This is more of a pipeline in a metaphorical sense, but it does pass through a tunnel.)

 

Beer

Darren J. Bradley/Shutterstock; Valentyn Volkov/Shutterstock

Length: 3.1 miles

Where: Gelensekirchen, Germany

Used by: Veltins Arena, home of the soccer club Schalke 04

Status: Still active.

 

Whiskey

Tim Stirling/Shutterstock

Length: Unknown

Where: Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Used by: Canadian Club founder Hiram Walker, to transport mash from his distiller to his farm.

Status: No longer active.

 

Orange juice

Sfocato/Shutterstock

Length: 1.2 miles

Where: Brazil

Used by: Cutrale, a Coca Cola subsidiary, to transfer fresh-squeezed juice from storage silos to pasteurization facility.

Status: Still open.

 

Grain

David Rose/Shutterstock

Length: TBD

Where: Montana to Minneapolis; Portland; or Lewiston, Idaho

Used by: Proposed by Montana legislature in the 1970s in response to rising freight transportation costs.

Status: Never built.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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