Monday, January 19, 2015

oil pipeline spill in Montana hard to clean up because of ice

"A Bridger Pipeline spokesman said the break happened Saturday morning about 9 miles upstream from Glendive. The company, which transports Bakken crude, is confident that no more than 1,200 barrels — or 50,000 gallons — of oil spilled during the hour-long breach.
This spill is similar in size to another pipeline in the Yellowstone River that gained national attention. ExxonMobil’s Silvertip pipeline burst on July 1, 2011, below the Yellowstone riverbed near Laurel, Montana, during a flood. More than 1,500 barrels of oil, or 63,000 gallons, quickly spread downstream, affecting wildlife, parks, landowners, ag producers, and others. Hundreds of workers cleaned up the oily mess for months at a cost of $135 million, $1.6 million in state fines for Exxon, and a lawsuit against the oil company by landowners affected by the spill.
In the latest spill, an oil sheen was spotted some 60 miles downstream. Ice on the river has hampered early clean-up effort.
Some Glendive residents have reported being able to taste or smell the oil in their drinking water."

So long as we use oil we'll have spills. But this emphasizes the need for great care, and critics of Keystone XL pipeline are trying to make sure happens. If oil spills, as it inevitably will, it should not be over an aquifer that is irreplaceable should it become contaminated.

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