Leak at tar sands plant fouls Athabasca River
Suncor Energy is one of Canada's top tar-sands oil producers and a big pusher for the Keystone XL Pipeline (see Globe & Mail, Oct. 25, 2011). They are, of course, key players in the continental NAFTA shadow government. So why are we reading about their contamination of the Athabasca River in the Edmonton Journal (March 26) and not the New York goddam Times? Just asking.
Tainted water poured for hours before broken Suncor pipe sealed
EDMONTON — A waste-water pipe at Suncor’s oilsands plant leaked into a pond of treated water Monday, and the resulting diluted water flowed into the Athabasca River, a company official said Tuesday.
Suncor spokeswoman Sneh Seetal said a pipe froze and burst, causing a leak that was discovered by an operator during rounds, which happens each shift. The pipe was 10 centimetres in diameter.
It is not known how much waste water flowed into the pond, which contained water that had already been treated and was ready to be returned to the river.
Communities downstream from the plant were notified about the incident and tests are underway to determine if the river water has been affected. Tests results will be available in the coming days.
Both the company and government officials emphasized they are taking the incident seriously.
Yes, of course. Meanwhile, as our good friends at Chevron fight in the courts to stiff Ecuador for oil-spill damages to the Amazon rainforest, they helpfully give one of our own natural areas—Utah's Willard Bay State Park—a little taste of the same treatment. From AP, March 24:
Chevron fuel spill in Utah much worse than thought
WILLARD, Utah — A Chevron fuel spill near a northern Utah bird refuge is much worse than originally thought as up to 27,000 gallons might have leaked, authorities said.
A split in a pipeline that runs from Salt Lake City to Spokane, Wash., is suspected of releasing diesel fuel into soil and marshes at Willard Bay State Park, according to the U.S. Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
The agency has filed a corrective action order against Chevron Pipe Line Co. that requires it to gain government approval before the pipeline can reopen. The order also requires Chevron to operate the pipeline at only 80 percent of normal pressure once it reopens.
Great. Talk about closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. And those of us who call for a crash conversion from the fossil fuel economy are the "unrealistic" ones?
Exxon fouls Arkansas
From Raw Story, March 30:
Nuclear near-miss in Arkansas
Arkansas almost got the double whammy. What a convenient illustration of the false choices we are presented by capitalism. Which flavor of dystopia do you choose? From CNN, March 31:
Oil spills all over the fucking place
Clean-up efforts are continuing near White River, Ont., where more than 63,000 liters of oil were spilled from a freight train after 22 cars went off the rails. (CBC, April 4) An estimated 50 barrels of oil spilled from a pipeline operated by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell into a waterway outside Houston on April 4, according to the US Coast Guard. Shell clean-up crews were working to clear the crude out of Vince Bayou, which connects to the Houston Ship Channel, leading into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill was contained but the total amount of oil was still being verified, the Coast Guard said. (Dow Jones, April 4) Following a leak at its petrochemical plant in Chalmette, La., ExxonMobil announced that it had released 100 pounds of hydrogen sulfide and 10 pounds of benzene, a volatile compound known to cause cancer. (RT, April 5)
Utah's hero beavers pay high price for defending habitat
From AP, March 27:
Reminds me of a vignette from William S. Burroughs:
The beavers just wanted to protect their bay from this mysterious substance that was fouling it, and they got "burns on their skin and eyes, and only patches of fur left on their bodies," AP informs us. Some of them got respiratory damage and are fighting just to breathe. Contact that. Identify with that. Feel that. And ask yourself, whose lives are worth more? The beavers, or the executive officers of Chevron?
Cover-up in spill at Alberta oil processing plant?
From Upstream Online, June 12:
The Globe & Mail informs us:
"Driverless" tanker train explodes, destroys Canadian town
Welcome to the (utterly dystopian) future. The details are still sketchy, but an overview of the coverage in a Daily Kos post tells us that a train carrying petrochemicals exploded in a Canadian town July 6, forcing the evacuation of up to 1,000 people. The blast sent a fireball and black smoke into the air, destroying dozens of buildings in Lac-Megantic, some 250 kilometers east of Montreal. The type of "petrochemicals" is still not clear—nor are reports that the train was "driverless."
A charming covergence of rule by petro-oligarchs and rule by robots.
Bitumen leak on Alberta pipeline
From iNews8801 AM, Edmonton, July 21:
Oil spill amid Colorado flooding
From the Denver Post, Sept. 18:
Another oil train derailment
Nearly 30 cars of the 90-car crude oil train on the Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway derailed near Aliceville in western Alabama Nov. 9. Some dozen of the cars went up in flames that only finally died down 24 hours later. (Reuters, Nov. 11; LAT, Nov. 9)
Pipeline explosion evacuates Texas town
A Chevron drilling crew punctured a gas pipeline near Milford, Tex., Nov. 14, triggering an explosion that led emergency personnel to evacuate the town, according to the Ellis County Sheriff's Office. Just two weeks ago, a pipeline near the town of Smithville, Tex., spilled 17,000 gallons of crude oil, impacting a rural area and two livestock ponds. The pipeline is owned by Koch Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. (Ring of Fire, Nov. 15)
"North Dakota Derailment Shows Dark Side of America's Oil Boom"
That's the headline of an unusually frank piece in Time Dec. 31. It opens:
It then goes on to answer itself: "Yes and no..." We are supposed to be comforted by the fact that "pipelines spill more often than rail." Gee, thanks.
Another oil train derailment
A Canadian National Railway train carrying crude oil and propane is still burning after it derailed and broke into flames the evening of Jan. 7 near the village of Plaster Rock in northwestern New Brunswick. (ENS, Jan. 8)
West Virginia chemical spill leaves 300,000 without water
Up to 300,000 people have for four days been unable to use tap water for anything besides flushing toilets in parts of West Virginia after as much as 7,500 gallons of an industrial chemical leaked into the Elk River. Reuters tells us:
...but doesn't actually tell us where the Crude MCHM actually came from.
Does anyone remember what happened in Hungary three and a half years ago? No, because these disasters continue to be seen as isolated "accidents" and not the functioninig of an ecocidal system.
Suit in West Virginia spill to name water utility
How perfect. Bloomberg informs us that the company responsible for the West Virginia chemical spill is actually namd "Freedom Industries"! Local authorities are saying the company may not have acted swiftly to warn of the leak of some 7,500 gallons of the rogue coal-processing chemical. But a class action suit being prepared also names the West Virginia unit of American Water Works (AWK), "the largest publicly traded water utility in the country. The sole intake for the Charleston-area water system is a mere mile-and-a-half down the Elk River from the Freedom Industries chemical-storage facility."
The Freedom Industries website boasts that it "has the experience and manpower to handle all of your companies [sic] needs" Apparently, this manpower does not include proofreaders. The website does not seem to contain a word about the chemical spill.
Rand Paul's "freedom"... to contaminate your drinking water
Oh, charming. Just weeks before the West Virginia disaster, GOP lawmakers proposed legislation for "Freedom Zones" (sic!) where the Clean Water Act would be basically suspended. From EarthJustice:
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that authorities are starting to approve use of drinking water in impacted West Virginia communities again—but the plume is headed into the Ohio River, and downstream localities are weighing how to react.
As it is, the "Freedom Industries" plant seems to have slipped through the regulatory cracks... The New York Times reported, "According to Department of Environmental Protection officials, Freedom Industries, which owns the chemical tank that ruptured, is exempt from Department of Environmental Protection inspections and permitting since it stores chemicals, and does not produce them."
Just what America needs. Less regulation of toxic industry. Thanks, Rand.
Freedom Industries prez faces fed fraud charges
Gary Southern, president of Freedom Industries during the January 2014 chemical spill into the Elk River, is facing charges of bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud and lying under oath. According to the criminal complaint filed in federal court in Charleston, WV, Southern lied under oath about his role at Freedom Industries prior to the spill in order to deflect blame from himself and protect himself financially. (WVNSTV, Dec. 8)
Another oil train derailment
From NPR, Jan. 20:
Worker missing in Pennsylvania gas well blast
An explosion at a Chevron gas well in Dunkard, Pa., the morning of Feb. 11 hs left one employee injured and another missing and feared dead. The fire is still blazing, and we are assured that "state officials don't believe the burning natural gas is toxic." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Oil spills go off the rails
From McClatchy, Jan. 21:
Oil spills still going off the rails
An underground gas line exploded Feb. 13 in Adair County Ky, leaving a crater in the ground 60 feet deep by 50 feet wide, and destroying two homes. (ABC) That same day, 21 cars of a freight train hauling oil and gas derailed in Vandergrift, Pa. (Pittsburgh Post-Gzette)
Oil spill closes Mississippi River
The U.S. Coast Guard says a 65-mile stretch of the Mississippi River is closed between Baton Rouge and New Orleans until further notice while crews clean up oil from a barge that struck a towboat. The collision happened Feb. 22 near Vacherie. In St. Charles Parish, officials say public drinking water intakes on the river are closed as a precaution. (Baton Rouge Advocate)
Oil pipeline ruptures in North Dakota
From AP, March 21:
Oil spill closes Houston ship channel
As many as 170,000 gallons of heavy oil have spilled into the Houston Ship Channel after a barge and a ship collided March 22. Oil had been found as far as 12 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Officials closed the shipping channel to lay oil-absorbent booms and skim oil from the water. The Coast Guard called the incident a “significant spill,” but more due to its location than its size. (US News & World Report)
Oil spill fouls Ohio wildlife reserve
The EPA now says 20,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a damaged pipeline into the Glen Oak Nature Preserve in southwest Ohio last week — double the initial estimates. The spill came from a five inch crack in the Mid-Valley Pipeline, running 1,000 miles from Texas to Michigan. The pipeline operator, Sunoco Logistics, says the pipeline has been repaired and reopened. A company spokesman told the Associated Press that the cause of the spill is still under investigation. (Think Progress, March 25)
BP doubles estimate of Lake Michigan oil spill
Three days after spilling crude oil into Lake Michigan, BP has doubled its spill estimate to between 470 and 1228 gallons. The leak happened at its refinery in Whiting, Ind. Although some of the oil has been cleaned up, it's unclear how much is left in the lake, a drinking water source for about seven million Chicagoans. Located just across the Illinois-Indiana state border, Whiting is home to the sixth largest refinery in the U.S. The refinery just went through a $4 billion "modernization project," giving it "the capability of processing up to about 85 percent heavy crude." (Climate Connections, March 28)
Oil spill fouls Virginia drinking water
Lynchburg has declared a state of emergency and Richmond has begun to switch to an alternate water supply after a CSX train carrying crude oil derailed in Lynchburg's central district April 30, spilling oil into the James River upstream from Richmond's primary water supply. (Richmond Times Dispatch)
Pipeline leak fouls Nebraska panhandle
Residents in Nebraska's Lyon county face dying soy beans, brown grass covered in a dark oily substance and an overwhelming odor following a still unexplained mishap during repairs on the Panhandle Eastern Pipeline. (Emporia Gazette, June 23)
Colorado: oil, gas spills happening twice daily
A Denver Post analysis of Colorado oil and gas spills so far in 2014 reveals that they are happening twice a day “and usually without anyone telling residents.”
That rate, 467 spills for the first seven months of this year, suggests that the state will surpass last year’s record of 575, the paper reported, due to a surge in oil and gas development and more stringent reporting rules. The state oil and gas commission said that tougher enforcement is also a factor.
Colorado now has about 52,000 active oil and gas wells, with much of the recent growth occurring along the populous Front Range north and northeast of Denver. The rapid pace of drilling and its proximity to many communities has sparked a simmering revolt, with the prospect looming of an epic election season battle over ballot proposals to allow more local control of oil and gas development. A drive to obtain enough signatures to place those measures on the ballot will conclude on Aug. 4.
Since 2010, the paper reported, about 21% of the nearly 2,500 reported spills have contaminated either ground or surface water. (ThinkProgress, July 29)
Mining waste contaminates drinking water in BC
From ThinkProgress, Aug. 5:
This after this year's similar disaster in West Virgina, the cut-off of algae-infested water in Toledo (NYT) and the controversy over water cut-offs to residents who fell behind in payments in Detroit (Michigan Live)... it isn't a comforting picture of the future. Not to mention the severe drought in California...
Man bites dog: fracker gets prison for pollution
The owner of a small Ohio oil and gas drilling company who ordered his employees to dump tens of thousands of gallons of fracking waste into a tributary of the Mahoning River was sentenced to 28 months of prison on Aug. 5, according to a Cleveland Plain Dealer report. US District Judge Donald Nugent also ordered 64-year-old Benedict Lupo, owner of Hardrock Excavating LLC, to pay $25,000 for unlawful discharge of pollutants under the Clean Water Act. Lupo pleaded guilty to the charges in March, admitting to having his employees dump fracking wastewater into the Mahoning River tributary 33 times. (ClimateProgress)
BC mine tailings spill nearly 70% bigger than first estimated
From the Vancouver Sun, Sept. 3:
Families flee gas leak at Ohio fracking well
From the Columbus Dispatch, Dec. 17:
In a little good news, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that week that his administration will block fracking in the state, following a state Health Department report findings the risks outweigh the benefits. (Jurist, Dec. 19)
Nuke plant fouls Lake Michigan
This one is pretty hilarious for those who plug nuclear power as an alternative to dirty fossil fuels. From the Detroit Free Press, Jan. 3:
Pipeline breach spills oil into Yellowstone River
From the Great Falls Tribune, Jan. 18:
Right, never "any threats to public safety or health."
Drill waste spill South Dakota's worst
Nearly 3 million gallons of saltwater generated by oil drilling have leaked from a North Dakota pipeline—the largest such spill since the state’s current oil boom began and nearly three times worse than any previous spill. Two creeks have been affected, but the full environmental effect might not be clear for months. Officials have discovered chloride concentrations in Blacktail Creek as high as 92,000 milligrams per liter—far higher than normal concentrations of about 10 to 20 milligrams per liter. the line was operated by Summit Midstream Partners. (Daily Kos, WC Native News, Jan. 22)
Another day, another gas pipeline bursts
A gas line explosion in West Virginia's Brooke County remains under investigation. Operator Enterprise Products is working with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to determine the cause of the explosion, which took place about an hour away from Pittburgh and near the Ohio River. (Daily Kos)
Frackers break environmental regs. We are shocked!
A new report from Environment America Research & Policy Center shows that all types of fracking companies, from small to large, are prone to violating rules intended to protect human health and the environment. The report, Fracking Failures: Oil and Gas Industry Environmental Violations in Pennsylvania and What They Mean for the US, analyses Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry over a four-year period and found that the top offenders of regulations—averaging more than one environmental violation every day—represented a wide range of companies from Fortune 500 companies like Cabot Oil, to mom-and-pop operators, to firms like Chevron. (EcoWatch, Jan. 27)
Ethanol from derailed train leaked into Mississippi
From the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, Feb. 6:
Another disaster in West Virginia
From West Virginia MetroNews, Feb. 16:
California refinery blast
An explosion and fire ripped through a gasoline processing unit at an ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, Calif, on Feb. 18, slightly injuring four workers and shattering windows of surrounding buildings. (Reuters)
Spill threatens Galena River
A BNSF Railway train loaded with crude oil that derailed and caught fire near Galena, Ill., March 5 afternoon is still burning today. (InForum, AP) Open Secrets website indicates that BNSF spent $3 million in lobbying last year, presumably against oversight.
More oil train derailments
The small town of Heimdal, North Dakota, was evacuated May 6 after a BNSF train carrying crude oil derailed and several cars burst into flames. Several nearby farms have also been ordered evacuated. (NBC)
On March 7, a train owned by the Canadian National Railway Co derailed over a bridge above the Makami River near the town of Gogama, Ontario, sending thirty-five cars full of crude oil off the tracks, at least five of which ended up in the water. A large fire and huge black clouds of smoke followed. (CommonDreams)
WHY WE FIGHT
An oil spill in California on May 19 spewed a slick in the ocean that now stretches some four miles and is extending towards the popular Refugio State Beach west of Santa Barbara. Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline is identified as the responsible company. A January 1969 spill off Santa Barbara became what was, at the time, the nation's worst offshore oil disaster. (CNN, CNN)
History of safety violations at company in Santa Barbara spill
From Yahoo News, below a picture of an oil-fouled pelican on a Santa Barbara beach:
Another gas line explosion
Emergency crews evacuated homes in Jordan township, Pa., near the Lycoming/Columbia county line, after a natural gas line explosion and rupture. The line was quickly shut off by Williams Gas workers. Evacuated residents were taken to a fire statation before being allowed to return to their homes. (WNEP, Moosic, June 9)
Oil spill in Hudson River's future?
NYC's The Villager on June 11 reports on efforts by state Sen. Brad Hoylman and environemntal groups to pressure General Electric to more fully clean up the PCBs it has dumped in the Hudosn River before cutting and running from the Empire State. The 200-mile contaminated stretch of the river from Glens Falls to Lower Manhattan is now a federal Superfund site, and GE has been dredging since 2009. But Hoylman and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) charge that the EPA low-balled the extent of the problem. So GE is about to dismantle its cleanup facility and split—which would apparently leave "the equivalent of a series of Superfund-caliber sites in the Hudson River."
Meanwhile, a new threat to the river has emerged—that of a devastating oil spill:
No shit. Link added. Amid this breakneck expansion, the Republicans of course continue bait Obama as being too slow to open to public lands to energy exploitation—while the White House has just approved plans by the Bureau of Land Management to permit new oil leases on some 30,000 acres of Colorado's Pawnee Grassland. (Bakken.com, May 15) And also to permit coal mining on thousands of acres of the Powder River Basin (which has already been massively opened to mining and fracking)... (ThinkProgress, June 1)
Another day, another oil spill...
Four tank cars leaked an estimated 35,000 gallons of oil after a train hauling fuel from North Dakota derailed in rural northeastern Montana July 17. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway train was bound for Anacortes, Wash., when it derailed about five miles east of the small town of Culbertson, near the North Dakota border, officials said. A hazardous-materials team contained the spill with earthen dams, and the oil didn't appear to affect any waterways, according to federal and state officials. (AP)
Mine waste spill turns Colorado river orange
From the Denver Post, Aug. 8:
Colorado mine waste spill update
The Environmental Protection Agency now says one of its safety teams accidentally released contaminated water from a mine into the Animas River. The spill sent heavy metals, arsenic and other contaminants into a waterway that flows into the San Juan National Forest. The EPA initially said 1 million gallons of wastewater had been released, but that figure has risen sharply. (NPR, Aug. 10)
Shell Oil toxic gas leak in Texas; river caches fire in Russia
On Aug. 9, hundreds of thousands of pounds of toxic gas were accidentally released from the Shell Oil facility in Deer Park, Tex. According to reports from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, 326,166 pounds of butadiene escaped through an open valve. (Houston Chronicle)
Meanwhile, amateur footage shows a large oil fire on the surface of the Moscow river after an underwater pipeline burst Aug. 12. The Moscow oil refinery, owned by Gazprom Neft, told Reuters it was unaffected by the fire, and did not own the pipeline where the incident occurred. Local news agencies reported that one child and two adults suffered burns from the incident. (The Guardian)
North Dakota oil well 'out of control'
Oil and saltwater are still spilling at an “out of control” rate from a North Dakota oil well owned by Oasis Petroleum Inc. that blew out over the weekend, UPI reports. So far, more than 67,000 gallons of crude and roughly 84,000 gallons of saltwater-brine (a toxic byproduct from the oil and gas drilling process) have leaked, according to Reuters. The well site is located in Mountrail County, approximately 15 miles south of the city of White Earth. The North Dakota Department of Health said that the spill has impacted a nearby river. (EcoWatch, Oct. 20)
Diesel spill on Willamette River
From AP, Oct. 26:
Yes, very reassuring.
Wisconsin train derailment leaks ethanol into Mississippi
A BNSF Railway train derailment in Wisconsin's Buffalo County on Nov. 7 sent 18,000 gallons of ethanol into the Mississippi River. The following day saw the derailment of a Canadian-Pacific Railway train in Watertown, Wis., spilling 1,000 gallons of oil and causing 35 local homes to be evacuated. (WBAY, Green Bay)
Uranium concentrate spill in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan's Southwest Booster reports that a highway has been shut down near the town of Swift Current due to a spill of a tractor-trailer hauling uranium concentrate. No evacuation was ordered only because the area is uninhabited.
California methane leak capped —at last
A leaking gas well that spewed tons of methane into the air and forced thousands of Los Angeles residents from their homes has been permanently sealed after four months, California officials said Feb. 19. The announcement confirmed earlier reports by the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) that the well at its facility at Aliso Canyon in the upscale Porter Ranch district had been plugged. (AFP) But Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) says the Aliso Canyon leak "sheds light on national problem," claiming research that shows "methane is leaking at every stage of the oil and gas supply chain."
Homes evacuated in upstate NY ethanol spill
From WBFO, Buffalo, March 2:
Flooding flushes oil, fracking chemicals into Texas rivers
From the Austin American-Statesman, April 30:
But of course.
Oil train cars derail in Columbia River
From KATU, Portland, OR:
Shell spills again
Less than two weeks after dumping nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Shell Oil is at it again. The company's San Pablo Bay Pipeline, which transports crude oil from California’s Central Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area, leaked an estimated 21,000 gallons into the soil near in San Joaquin County. (Greenpeace, May 26)
Massive fracking explosion in New Mexico
An oil field in San Juan County, NM, erupted in flames July 11. The fire broke out at a fracking site owned and operated by WPX Energy, setting off several explosions and temporarily closing the nearby Highway 550. Fifty-five local residents were forced out of their homes. The site—located in the Mancos shale deposit area and known as the 550 Corridor and a part of Greater Chaco Canyon—contains six new oil wells and 30 temporary oil storage tanks holding either oil or produced water. All 36 storage tanks caught fire and burned, the Tulsa-based energy company said. (EcoWatch)
Saskatchewan oil spill threatens Prince Albert water supply
From Canada's Global News, July 22:
Fuel spill into creek in Colorado Springs, killing fish
From AP, Aug. 27:
"Speed" as in velocity, or as in crystal meth? Just asking.
Radioactive waste found at North Dakota oil field landfill
The North Dakota State Health Department is probing an oilfield waste landfill operated by IHD Solids Management after the detection of a significant amount of illegal radioactive matter. The radioactive material was detected twice in two separate inspections that took place in May and June. Now the Health Department has ordered a third-party inspection of the landfill and instructed the operator to remove 950 tons of waste and take it out of the state, after radioactivity checks of all 12 oilfield waste landfills in the state revealed levels of between 5 and 80 picocuries, the latter standing 30 picocuries above the new maximum allowed for oilfield waste.
But the controversial 50-picocurie limit was only approved in January, and oilfield landfill operators have yet to apply for permits under the new requirement. They currently have permits that allow no more than 5 picocuries at the landfills. (OilPrice, Sept. 1)
Alabama pipeline leaks 252,000 gallons
A gasoline pipeline leak that was reported last week near Helena, Ala., spilled approximately 6,000 barrels—or 252,000 gallons—of gasoline in a remote area of Shelby County, the pipeline owner said today. Colonial Pipeline, the Georgia.-based company that operates 5,500 miles of pipeline from Houston to the New York harbor, announced the volume estimate Sept. 14 on its spill response web site. (AL.com)
Gasoline shortages loom following pipeline spill
Six states—Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and North Carolina—are facing possible gas shortages after the Colonial Pipeline spilll. The states have all declared states of emergency, citing concerns about "fuel supply disruptions" and "disruptions of gasoline." The governor of North Carolina declared the state of emergency to "help ensure that there will be adequate supplies of fuel across the state and prevent excessive fuel pricing." (ABC, Sept. 17)
Gasoline spill fouls Susquehanna River
A broken Sunoco pipeline in Pennsylvania's Lycoming County dumped 55,000 gallons of gasoline into the Susquehanna River. As the river, swollen with 6 to 8 inches of rain that fell overnight, rushes south, Lancaster County officials are gearing up to prevent contamination of the local water supply. (Lancaster Online, Oct. 21)
Alabama's Colonial Pipeline blows again
The Colonial Pipeline again exploded in Alabama's Shelby County Oct. 31. One was killed and at least seven injured in the blast. The incident has sent gasoline proces in the South souring. The explosion, which sent flames and thick black smoke soaring over the forest, happened about a mile west of where the pipeline ruptured in September. (AP)
220 'significant' pipeline spills in 2016
Three major US pipeline spills within the last month are just a small part of the 220 significant incidents reported so far this year—and 3,032 since 2006—that provide a stark reminder of the environmental hazards of an aging pipeline infrastructure. The costs of these leaks since 2006 has amounted to $4.7 billion. (EcoWacth, Oct. 25)
Oil spill near site of Dakota Access protests
In a grimly ironic postscript to the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, North Dakota just saw a local creek contaminated by a pipeline sill. State officials estimate more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from the Belle Fourche Pipeline into the Ash Coulee Creek. State environmental scientist Bill Suess says a landowner discovered the spill on Dec. 5 near the city of Belfield, which is roughly 150 miles from the site of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camps. (CNBC, Dec. 12)
Oil spill contaminates Colorado creek
A BP pipeline running along Sauls Creek in Bayfield, Colo., was discovered ruptured last week, spilling methane-contaminated wastewater into the creek and forcing the emergency construction of an earthen dam to contain the contamination. (Durango Herald, Dec. 20)
Oil spill contaminates Saskatchewan aboriginal lands
A Tundra Energy pipeline in the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan has leaked 200,000 liters (52,834 gallons) of oil on lands of the Ocean Man First Nation. The spill came seven months after another major incident in Saskatchewan, in which a Husky Energy Inc pipeline leaked 225,000 liters into a major river and cut off the drinking water supply for thousands of residents. (Reuters, Jan. 24)
Worker missing in Louisiana pipeline blast
A Phillips 66 employee is missing and a contract worker hospitalized after an explosion and fire at a pipeline station in southern Louisiana. The incident led to the evacuation of about 60 homes in Paradis, St. Charles Parish. (Reuters, Feb. 10)
Oil spill contaminates Colorado creek —again
From AP, March 14:
EPA drops rule requiring mining companies to pay for clean-up
The Trump administration announced that it will not require mining companies to prove they have the financial wherewithal to clean up their pollution, despite an industry legacy of abandoned mines that have fouled waterways across the US. The move came after industry and Western-state Republicans pushed back against a proposal under Obama to make companies set aside money for future cleanup costs. (Chicago Tribune, Dec. 1)
New pipeline spill in northwest Alberta
A pipeline owned by Paramount Resources Ltd. released an estimated 100,000 litres of crude oil and 190,000 litres of produced water near Zama City, in northwest Alberta, according to an April 11 incident report filed with the Alberta Energy Regulator. The remote pipeline is part of a network in the Zama area obtained by Paramount Resources when it acquired Apache Corp for $487 million in 2017. Between May 2013 and January 2014 Apache’s pipeline infrastructure was plagued by a series of incidents that included one of the largest recent pipeline spills in North America. (DeSmog Canada)
Pipeline dumps 8,000 gallons of jet fuel into Indiana river
From AP, Sept. 10:
Train cars carrying oil derail in Manitoba
Canadian National Railway said in a statement that 37 cars carrying crude left the tracks early Feb. 16 near St-Lazare, just east of the Saskatchewan-Manitoba boundary. The railway said there was "a partial leak" of crude and it was not known how much oil had spilled. A huge plume of oil was detected by two local men who sent a drone over the accident site. (Globe & Mail, CBC)
Pipeline company fined over fracking water spill
The US Department of Justice settled criminal and civil charges under the Clean Water Act against Summit Midstream Partners LLC, a North Dakota pipeline company that discharged 29 million gallons of waste water from its pipeline near Williston, North Dakota, over the course of nearly five months in 2014-2015 before the spill was discovered. Under parallel settlements resolving the cases, the company has agreed to pay a total of $35 million in criminal fines and civil penalties, plus $1.25 million in compensation for damage to natural resources.
The discharge of more than 29 million gallons (700,000 barrels) of "produced water," a waste product of hydraulic fracturing, into Blacktail Creek, near Marmon, ND, contaminated land and groundwater, and over 30 miles of tributary waters that flow into the Missouri River.
Produced water is a waste product of oil extraction and can be toxic to plants, fish and other aquatic wildlife. It is also harmful to humans. (ENS, Aug. 12)
California opens investigation into Huntington Beach oil spill
California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Oct. 11 announced that the state Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the oil spill that occurred off Huntington Beach earlier this month. Bonta said that federal, state, and local authorities will investigate the spill to determine its cause and to assess what measures could have been taken to prevent the spill or minimize its effects.
Bonta announced the investigation during a special briefing by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Office of Spill Prevention & Response, the US Coast Guard, and Amplify Energy, which is the company responsible for the spill. Bonta said that because "oil is the past, not our future," he will not waver in protecting Californians, the environment, and natural resources, including the state's 840 miles of coastline. Bonta added that although Huntington Beach is reopening, the cleanup efforts do not "negate the horrific lasting impact of this disaster." (Jurist)
More chemicals discovered in Ohio train derailment
From The Hill:
Ohio takes legal action against Norfolk Southern
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on March 14 filed a complaint in federal court against railroad giant Norfolk Southern over the Feb. 3 train derailment in East Palestine that led to the release of hazardous materials and mass evacuations.
Yost brought the suit at the request of the director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The complaint contains 58 counts for relief under numerous state and federal environmental laws.
Ohio is seeking injunctive relief, civil penalties, redress for "damages to the State's natural resources," a declaratory judgment, and reimbursement of the state EPA's response costs. The complaint asserts that the derailment "was both foreseeable and preventable," detailing numerous incidents of derailments that Norfolk Southern has been involved in over recent years. Yost also references two Norfolk Southern derailments that have occurred since the East Palestine derailment—one on March 4 in Springfield, Ohio and one on March 9 in Calhoun County, Alabama. (Jurist)