Did you know that there are thousands of miles of pipeline in the U.S. and they leak every single day. The protests surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) are not without good cause. The following are just a few of the major leaks that mainstream media has refused to tell you about.
There are 185,000 miles of liquid oil pipelines alone.
In January of 2015 alone we saw two major pipeline leaks in North Dakota, the same state where the fight against DAPL is focused.
The spills there saw more than 6 million gallons of oil products leaking into the environment
The most recent of such leaks occurred on September 9, 2016.
Approximately 252,000 gallons as well as 336,000 of gas leaked when a Colonial Pipeline exploded in Alabama.
Alabama and Georgia quickly declared a state of emergency but the public knew nothing about the pipeline explosion because the mainstream media was helping the oil corporations keep the environmental terrorism quiet.
There is a long and sordid history of pipeline leaks all across the United States that most of the public are completely unaware of.
Amanda Starbuck from the Center For Effective Government recalls that “on June 14, a natural gas pipeline ruptured and burst into flames near Cuero, Texas, releasing an estimated 165,000 pounds of toxic volatile organic compounds into the air. Nearby residents evacuated their homes, but no one was injured. Still, the accident serves as another reminder of the dangers of transporting natural gas and other hazardous materials.”
Industry insists that pipelines are safe, but ruptures and leaks are a daily occurrence. Eighty people have died and 389 have been injured in such incidents in the last five years.
“Since 2010,” Starbuck explains, “over 3,300 incidents of crude oil and liquefied natural gas leaks or ruptures have occurred on U.S. pipelines. These incidents have killed 80 people, injured 389 more, and cost $2.8 billion in damages. They also released toxic, polluting chemicals in local soil, waterways, and air.”
More than 1,000 of these incidents occurred “on pipelines carrying crude oil.” These spills were mapped by High Country News, a nonprofit news organization in Colorado:
Crude Oil Pipeline Incidents, 2010 to Present
Source: High Country News
According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, these spills and ruptures released over 7 million gallons of crude. Individual leaks ranged from a few gallons to hundreds of thousands of gallons. One of the largest spills happened in North Dakota in 2013 when lightning struck a pipeline, which leaked over 840,000 gallons of crude onto a wheat field.
Much of this crude originates in the oil fields of Texas and North Dakota. But accidents frequently occur with pipelines that just transport crude through states to refineries. Thus, states not directly involved in the oil fracking boom still face substantial risks to public safety and the environment from crude transport.
Oil and Gas Pipelines
Source: The New York Times
Aging pipelines and few inspections contribute to failures.
Starbuck adds that “nearly half of America’s crude oil pipelines are more than 50 years old, increasing the chance of corrosion and failure. Human error and failure of operators to act on potential vulnerabilities in their pipelines also contribute to accidents. So do natural phenomena like lightning and earthquakes.”
Moreover, she explains that “only 139 federal pipeline inspectors are responsible for examining over 2.6 million miles of pipelines. That’s nearly 18,000 miles of pipeline per inspector – clearly not enough to ensure the integrity of our nation’s aging pipeline infrastructure.”
Additional funding for inspections is an important step. But to completely avoid these accidents, we need to shift to renewable energy sources.
Are you living near a pipeline? Visit the interactive map from the National Pipeline Mapping System to see what pipelines cross your state.
Pipelines are NOT safe
The United States government allows Big Oil corporations to write off the cost of building the pipelines which are often obtained through eminent domain. They subsidize the cost of transportation, and the cost of refining it.
The total amount of money spent on lobbying from Big Oil is almost $61,000,000 a year.
We don’t need another oil pipeline. If you agree, STAND WITH STANDING ROCK and help SPREAD THE WORD!
(Article by M. David)