By Nate Schweber
Environmental damage from recent oil leak ranges from contaminated water supply to polluted farmland
GLENDIVE, Montana — When an oil pipeline burst in July 2011 and poured 63,000 gallons of crude into the Yellowstone River 200 miles upstream from Dena Hoff’s farm of wheat, beans and corn on the Great Plains in Glendive, she felt disgusted.
When it happened again Saturday, she felt terror. This pipeline breach was underneath the Yellowstone River, just a few feet from her sheep pasture. The new spill poured out some 50,000 gallons of crude oil. Leaders of this small riverside farming and ranching community in northeastern Montana warned residents not to drink their tap water, because benzene, a carcinogen, was found in the municipal water system. Oil slicked the river for dozens of miles, almost to the border with North Dakota. Hoff’s property smelled sickeningly like diesel.
“People need to understand this is a very serious thing,” she said. “It impacts everything and everybody downstream.”
Certainly the disaster is far more than just a local issue. As more than 100 emergency workers hacked at thick river ice in a frantic attempt to find and contain the spilled oil, the U.S. Senate in Washington made good on what its new Republican leaders promised would be their first order of business: approving the Keystone XL pipeline, which would also cross the Yellowstone River in Glendive.
“The State Department has affirmed the safety of Keystone XL pipeline,” said freshman Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, who was joined in his support by senior Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana. “It’s important that this job-creating project is approved.”
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Categories: Conservation, Ecology, Energy policy, Environment, Environmental history, History, Natural resources, Politics, Pollution, Top stories, Toxicology, U.S. history, US News, Water quality
Pipelines are destroying the environment in many ways; Leaking is just one of them. Solar and Wind energy doesn’t come with the pollution that goes with oil and tar sands development.
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I lived out west. Out west, everyone knows that if the river dies, they die. This is depressing information and I think we need to start talking about what we are allowing corporations to do. In the 80’s and 90’s corporations have been on this slid down hill to compete in the global market. They do not care about any Nation and cut corners to save wealth.. It is clear that big business is doing well and they are large enough to be held accountable.
I have been reading about all the chemicals that are getting piped. Not just oil and gas but toxic chemicals. We need to ask were are we piping all this crap and who is exactly benefiting?
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I agree with everything you said. It’s big industry polluting for profit. There are so many spills that go under the radar. The media ignore them at the request of the company involved.
This is why Republicans want to get rid of the EPA. They don’t care about clean air or water….the more money these oil barons make, the more campaign donations the GOP gets. It’s a vicious circle.
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In their ‘war’ to make a profit, spills are just collateral damage as are the land, animals and people that it harms.
We should think that after Love Canal, government would be more thoughtful, but the younger members seemed to have missed the lessons of US history…..or went to sleep.
“The State Department has affirmed the safety of Keystone XL pipeline” –I would venture to say this is only partially true because I cannot believe any department that is a non engineering department would issue such a statement. If the Army Corps of Engineers did give them a report, it would be qualified by terrain, various assorted geological aspects and weather affects.
In fact given the proximity to the Yellowstone Caldera, and very possible earthquakes, not counting the Caldera blowing, would be catastrophic for any pipeline within a couple of hundred miles, if not more.
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