Pipeline Spills Over 100,000 Gallons Of Crude Into Creek Near Dakota Access Protest Camp
A pipeline located in the western part of North Dakota has spilled more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil into a nearby creek, just 150 miles away from the campsite where thousands opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline.
CNBC reports a landowner discovered the spill on Dec. 5. A total of 4,200 barrels 176,000 gallons spilled from the Belle Fourche Pipeline into the Ash Coulee Creek. By Monday (Dec. 12), workers reported 983 barrels or 41,286 gallons were recovered. The remainder of the cleanup can take months, stretching into Spring 2017. The freezing conditions in the area attributed to the leak's limited expansion.
Wendy Owen, a spokeswoman for True Companies, which owns the pipeline, says their monitoring technology failed to pick up the leak because of “the intermittent nature of the flow.” "That is our number one theory, but nothing is definitive," Owen added. "We have several working theories and the investigation is ongoing."
Since 2006, the Associated Press notes the company has reported 36 other spills of petroleum products totaling 320,000 gallons at their pipelines in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming. Ash Coulee Creek also feeds into the Little Missouri River, but Owens assured reporters that no oil entered the river and no drinking water was affected. Protesters just two hours away at Standing Rock have been fighting for clean water and the preservation of sacred tribal lands, scoring a win for Lake Oahe, which the planned Dakota Access Pipeline would have crossed. Last week, it was announced that developer Energy Transfer Partners would not receive permission from President Barack Obama for their final steps.
The company seems to be confident the project will continue under President-elect Donald Trump. Two cows were reportedly found dead near the spill. U.S. Forest Service land, as well as privately owned land was also damaged in the spill.