Read

User menu

Search form

The Dakota Access Pipeline Has Sprung Two Leaks – And It Hasn't Even Started Operating Yet

The Dakota Access Pipeline Has Sprung Two Leaks – And It Hasn't Even Started Operating Yet
Fri, 5/26/2017 - by Bec Crew
This article originally appeared on Science Alert

It didn't take long for detractors of the Dakota Access Pipeline to have their fears met, with reports surfacing that the facility sprung two leaks in March, leaking more than 100 gallons (378 litres) of oil before it was contained.

While both leaks were relatively small, and were cleaned up before affecting nearby waterways and wildlife, the concern here is that the pipeline has now sustained three leaks in 2017 alone, and it still hasn't even begun operations.

As the Associated Press reports, two barrels of oil totalling 84 gallons (320 litres) spilled on March 3 due to a mechanical fault at a pipeline terminal in Watford City, North Dakota.

A second, above-ground spill occurred on March 5 in Mercer County, North Dakota – a leak of half a barrel, or 20 gallons (75 litres), due to a manufacturing defect. The contaminated soil was reportedly cleaned up before doing any damage to the surrounding environment.

A third, known leak occurred on April 4 in South Dakota, where two barrels (84 gallons) spilled at a pump station.

The North Dakota Environmental Health Chief, Dave Glatt, told the Associated Press that all spills are listed on their online database, but they don't usually notify the public unless the leaks involve at least 150 barrels (6,300 gallons or 23,848 litres), or the oil has made its way into the waterways.

To be clear, these leaks are tiny compared to what we've been seeing elsewhere in the state of North Dakota, which has experienced 700 oil spills in the past 12 months alone.

One of them occurred in Billings County, just 2.5 hours away from where the Standing Rock protest took place, when a December 2016 spill leaked 529,830 gallons of crude oil (12,615 barrels or 2,005,624 litres) into Ash Coulee Creek and the surrounding countryside, due to a fault in the Belle Fourche Pipeline.

Especially concerning for locals was the fact that the company that owns the leaky pipeline, Belle Fourche Pipeline Co., didn't even realise it was happening until a member of the public stumbled on the leak and notified them about it. And that was five days after the leak had originally sprung.

By that stage, the oil had spread almost 7 km (5.4 miles) from the original leakage point.

Another leak saw 400 barrels of oil (16,800 gallons) leak out in Bowman County, and spread more than 100 metres into the surrounding environment.

Between 2006 and 2014, there have been more than 1,300 pipeline spills in the state, according to The New York Times.

But the fact that the Dakota Access leaks have so far been small will be cold comfort for concerned locals, who say it's only a matter of time before a bigger, and more environmentally damaging incident occurs.

"We have always said it is not a matter of it, but when," tribal attorney Jan Hasselman told the press after the 84-gallon South Dakota leak. "Pipelines spill and leak. It's just a fact."

Several tribes in North and South Dakota, including the Cheyenne River, Standing Rock, Yankton, and Oglala Sioux, are currently fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline in federal court.

Originally published by Science Alert

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund, Norwegian divestment, oil divestment, fossil fuel divestments, carbon emissions, Green New Deal, petro-states

Europe's largest oil producer is effectively admitting the oil game is over and promises to divest from the industry – but it wants to play to the final whistle. Can it have it both ways?

Amazon, Amazon Web Services, Amazon cloud storage, Amazon government relationship, Amazon surveillance technology, Amazon financial dominance

Amazon provides is unmatched providing cloud storage to our federal government, gubernatorial organizations and local municipalities, with over 2,000 agencies now dependant on AWS.

Brexit, Brexit failure, leaving the E.U., British turmoil, Brexit no-deal

The rejection of a no-deal left the government crestfallen as its attempt to keep control of the Brexit process by maintaining a no-deal on the table was quashed.

youth climate strike, climate protests, climate walkouts, strike for climate, Greta Thunberg, global youth protests

The global Youth Climate Strike will have its official coming out party this Friday, March 15, when tens of thousands of young people worldwide skip school to protest climate inaction.

Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund, Norwegian divestment, oil divestment, fossil fuel divestments, carbon emissions, Green New Deal, petro-states

Europe's largest oil producer is effectively admitting the oil game is over and promises to divest from the industry – but it wants to play to the final whistle. Can it have it both ways?

Environmental activists occupy the office of then incoming Democratic majority leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

Amid transatlantic proposals for a Green New Deal, monetary policy – normally relegated to obscure academic tomes and bureaucratic meetings behind closed doors – has suddenly taken center stage.

Image Credit: Sara Jane Rhee

Teachers are now understanding that their labor power is part of a broader strategy to even the playing field in a political landscape that is increasingly unequal.

District of Columbia Democratic Attorney General Karl Racine (center) is hiring outside climate counsel to work on matters related to an Exxon investigation. Karl Racine/Facebook

Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine has revealed plans to hire climate lawyers to focus on an investigation and potential litigation against Exxon Mobil Corp.

billionaires, abolish billionaires, extreme wealth, wealth inequality, income inequality, tax the rich, wealth redistribution, wealth tax

America’s billionaires have suddenly realized they just may be facing an existential crisis: A good chunk of the American people, they now understand, would rather billionaires not exist.

Posted 6 days 15 hours ago
Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund, Norwegian divestment, oil divestment, fossil fuel divestments, carbon emissions, Green New Deal, petro-states

Europe's largest oil producer is effectively admitting the oil game is over and promises to divest from the industry – but it wants to play to the final whistle. Can it have it both ways?

Posted 3 days 1 hour ago
Amazon, Amazon Web Services, Amazon cloud storage, Amazon government relationship, Amazon surveillance technology, Amazon financial dominance

Amazon provides is unmatched providing cloud storage to our federal government, gubernatorial organizations and local municipalities, with over 2,000 agencies now dependant on AWS.

Posted 4 days 15 hours ago
Brexit, Brexit failure, leaving the E.U., British turmoil, Brexit no-deal

The rejection of a no-deal left the government crestfallen as its attempt to keep control of the Brexit process by maintaining a no-deal on the table was quashed.

Posted 5 days 15 hours ago
Bouteflika protests, Algeria protests, second Arab Spring, Algeria youth, Algeria elections

Hundreds of thousands gathered at capital Algiers' landmark Grand Poste square demanding the president step down.

Brexit, Brexit failure, leaving the E.U., British turmoil, Brexit no-deal

The rejection of a no-deal left the government crestfallen as its attempt to keep control of the Brexit process by maintaining a no-deal on the table was quashed.

Norway Sovereign Wealth Fund, Norwegian divestment, oil divestment, fossil fuel divestments, carbon emissions, Green New Deal, petro-states

Europe's largest oil producer is effectively admitting the oil game is over and promises to divest from the industry – but it wants to play to the final whistle. Can it have it both ways?

A conversation with Tailspin author Steven Brill, who has been writing about class warfare in the U.S. since 2011. The picture he paints is as depressing as it is persuasive.