Companies backing pipelines have spilled tens of thousands of barrels: Report

Report comes as one of the proposed pipelines is the focal point of much controversy

Companies backing pipelines have spilled tens of thousands of barrels: Report


By Lyle Adriano

Data from the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) obtained by Greenpeace USA has revealed that the companies behind the four planned tar sand pipelines have together spilled about 63,000 barrels of toxic liquids.

The companies – Enbridge, Kinder Morgan, and TransCanada – suffered a total of 373 spills over the past seven years, the report detailed.

Forty-one (41) of those spills were classified by the PHMSA as “significant,” which means more than 50 barrels were spilled, in terms of crude oil.

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MintPress News noted that one such spill – the Kalamazoo River oil spill – polluted 36 miles of river back in 2010 and nearly contaminated Lake Michigan.

PHMSA’s data also showed that the number of significant pipeline incidents alarmingly surged from 105 in 2007 to 176 in 2015. The number dropped slightly last year, however.

The pipeline projects are an effort to boost the production of Canada’s tar sands. Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline would transport oil to the west coast, while TransCanada’s Energy East to the east. TransCanada’s Keystone XL and Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline refurbishment projects cross into the US.

The Keystone XL pipeline, in particular, was controversial enough to convince President Obama to refuse the project the president permit required for it to cross the border. President Trump, however, reversed the decision by signing an executive order.

Critics against the pipeline projects – among them 120 First Nations and Tribes – have raised their concerns regarding the possible environmental impact of the structures, whether through a spill or the greenhouse gas emissions that are by-products of the refinement process.

Human rights concerns related to the construction and use of the pipelines were raised, particularly by members of First Nations.

“I’ve been to the Alberta tar sands and seen first-hand the destruction that is causes, it’s devastating. A couple of years ago there was a pipeline spill close to Onion Lake reservation, a brand new pipeline,” said Sacred Trust of the Tseil-Waututh Nation manager Rueben George.

George also considers the federal government’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline an affront.

“They are breaking Tseil-Waututh law and that’s why we’re suing them,” he said.

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