Quantcast
Connect with us

North Dakota may be hiding an oil spill larger than the Exxon Valdez

Published

on

Thanks for your support!
This article was paid for by reader donations to Raw Story Investigates.

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.

Sarah Okeson
Sarah Okeson

Workers cleaning up an oil spill in North Dakota that is officially listed as 10 gallons recovered 240,000 gallons, but the actual number might be larger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989 which released about 11 million gallons of crude.

The discrepancy in the numbers, first reported by the environmental blog DeSmog, shows how inadequate North Dakota’s policy is for reporting spills. The state doesn’t update initial public reports on spills.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I have seen many instances where it appears spills are being covered up, and there appears to be a pattern of downplaying spills, which makes the narrative surrounding oil and gas development look rosy and makes the industry look better politically,” said Scott Skokos, executive director of the Dakota Resource Council.

A U.S. House subcommittee has been holding hearings on the impact of oil and gas development on local communities and the environment.

North Dakota farmer Daryl Peterson told the committee more than a dozen brine spills over the past 25 years have ruined parts of his farm.

“Regulators were made aware of all spills, but did not hold the companies accountable,” Peterson told the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources of the House’s Natural Resource Committee.

North Dakota regulators were not required to tell the public about oilfield-related spills until 2013 after a wheat farmer in northwestern North Dakota discovered a massive spill that has been called one of the biggest onshore spills in U.S. history.

ADVERTISEMENT

The North Dakota spill, which could take another decade to clean up, is in Watford City in the northwest part of North Dakota at the Garden Creek I Gas Processing Plant. Workers noticed a leak in July 2015. Garden Creek processes natural gas and natural gas liquids from Bakken wells.

Reported DeSmog: “Neither the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which monitors coastal spills, nor the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could provide records to put the spill’s size in context, but according to available reports, if the 11-million-gallon figure is accurate, the Garden Creek spill appears to be among the largest recorded oil and gas industry spills in the history of the United States.”

Regulators said some groundwater was affected at the Garden Creek site, but the spill didn’t reach beyond the facility’s boundaries.

ADVERTISEMENT

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed a law in 2017 that excuses oil companies from reporting spills of up to 10 barrels, or 420 gallons, of oil and produced water if the spill is contained onsite.

Dave Glatt, the state environmental quality chief, said the spill at the gas plant in 2015 would still need to be reported because it doesn’t involve an oil production facility.

ADVERTISEMENT

Featured image: Pumpjacks and flaring in McKenzie County, N.D., east of Arnegard and west of Watford City. (Tim Evanson, Flickr Creative Commons, via DeSmogblog.com)

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

CNN

Scrambling Trump promises to ‘save’ social security after threatening to cut it — but it’s seniors who will pay for his recklessness

Published

on

It used to be said that cutting Social Security was politics’ third rail, a fatal taking of positions.

If that’s still true, you wouldn’t know it from the emerging attention that cutting Social Security is getting.

Indeed, look at Trump’s handling of Social Security, and you may find real flaws in the armor of a Best-of-All-Time economy cloak that Trump tries to wear.

Even as Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden mix it up over whether Biden did or did not say something supportive about a Republican plan in 2008 by then-Rep. Paul D. Ryan for spending reductions, here comes Donald Trump to promise that he is open to revamping entitlement programs towards the end of the year.

Continue Reading

Commentary

The absurd antics of Trump’s lawyers have turned the Senate trial into a bad episode of the Twilight Zone

Published

on

It’s hard to pick out the best moment for Absurdity around the impeachment trial.  In this Twilight Zone-like courtroom reality, there are simply too many choices for Most Absurd.

Like the Oscars, the undramatic competition for the award leans unduly on older, white men, particularly those with preordained decisions already in mind before any outcome.

Certainly, the top three must include continuing claims by Republican senators that they have not learned anything new – after having voted 11 times to deny the admission of new evidence or witnesses beyond the transcripts of the House committee hearings that had led to an impeachment vote.

Continue Reading
 

Commentary

Trump’s infuriating sham of an impeachment trial confirms our worst fears

Published

on

So, this is what rot in American politics looks like.

It arrives in the padded cats-feet of mostly polite testimony and argument, of tipping hats and heads to Misters, Ma’ams and Senators, and then slowly twisting the knife of majority-dictated rules to turn search for what’s happened into ridicule and sneer.

If you were unsure before, there are 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats and independents in the Senate, and by the end of a long, uncomfortable day of deciding on rules for a Senate “trial” of Donald Trump, the 53-47 outcome was heard 11 times, each aimed at undercutting any sense of actually acknowledging that there was anything wrong with running a rogue shakedown campaign from the White House for personal political gain.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image