North Dakota’s oil frenzy is leaking like a sieve. You most likely have not heard about it because fracking companies, pipeline owners, and state officials have been keeping information about hundreds of oil spills secret for years.
According to Natives News, After a huge spill of more than 20,000 barrels on a wheat farm was hushed up for 11 days, the Associated press discovered the extent of the years-long cover up:
Records obtained by the AP show that so far this year, North Dakota has recorded 139 pipeline leaks that spilled a total of 735 barrels of oil. In 2012, there were 153 pipeline leaks that spilled 495 barrels of oil, data shows.
A little more than half of the spills companies reported to North Dakota occurred “on-site,” where a well is connected to a pipeline, and most were fewer than 10barrels. The remainder of the spills occurred along the state’s labyrinth of pipelines.
“The public really should know about these,” said Don Morrison, Director of the Dakota Resource Council, an environmental-minded landowner group with more than 700 members in North Dakota. “If there is a spill, sometimes a landowner may not even know about it. And if they do, people think its an isolated incident that’s only happening to them.”
North Dakota also had 291 incidents this year that leaked a total of about 2209barrels of oil. Data show that all but 490 barrels were contained and cleaned up at the well site. In 2012, there were 168 spills reported that leaked 1089 barrels of oil; all but 376 barrels were contained on site, data shows. Only one incident – a crash involving an oil truck last year – was reported publicly.
Department of Mineral Resources director Lynn Helms, The State’s top oil regulator, said regulatory worry about “over-reporting” spills.
The goal, he said, is to find a balance to so that “the public is aware of what’s happening but not overwhelmed by little incidents.”
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