Oil Company to Face Felony Charges Over Massive California Spill


In this May 21, 2015, file photo, workers prepare an oil containment boom at Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, Calif., two days after a ruptured pipeline created the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years. (photo: Jae C. Hong/AP)
In this May 21, 2015, file photo, workers prepare an oil containment boom at Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, Calif., two days after a ruptured pipeline created the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25

 

Samantha Page | Think Progress | Reader Supported News | May 18, 2016

he company responsible for spilling 140,000 gallons of oil on the Pacific coastline near Santa Barbara, California, has been indicted on 46 charges, including four felony charges. One employee of Plains All American Pipeline was also indicted.

The company faces up to $2.8 million in fines plus additional costs and penalties, which would be split between the state and Santa Barbara County. The employee, 41-year-old environmental and regulatory compliance specialist James Buchanan, faces up to three years in jail.

“Crimes against our environment must be met with swift action and accountability,” California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement. “This conduct is criminal and today’s charges serve as a powerful reminder of the consequences that flow from jeopardizing the well-being of our ecosystems and public health.”

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PEMEX oil rig explodes off Gulf Coast of Mexico


RT News | April 1, 2015

Four workers have been reported dead and 16 injured after the explosion of a PEMEX oil rig off the Coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday morning. RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky reports and takes a look at the major accidents that the Mexican oil company has had over the decades.

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Train Derailment in West Virginia Causes Oil Spill


A train derailment in West Virginia started a fire that destroyed one house and may have contaminated a river with crude oil. (photo: John Raby/AP)
A train derailment in West Virginia started a fire that destroyed one house and may have contaminated a river with crude oil. (photo: John Raby/AP)

Justin Worland | TIME | Reader Supported News | February 17, 2015

train carrying crude oil in southern West Virginia derailed Monday, setting at least one house on fire and spilling oil into the state’s largest river, according to local news reports.

Authorities ordered residents within a mile and a half of the derailment to evacuate, according to WSAZ. The Charleston Daily Mail reports a CSX train went off the tracks at 1:20 p.m. ET, according to a spokesman for the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.

Following the crash, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency for Kanawha and Fayette counties.

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Pipeline Break in Montana: The Yellowstone River Is Something We’ll Probably Miss


Authorities are scrambling to decontaminate the water in the Yellowstone River near the city of Glendive, Montana, after an oil spill on Saturday released nearly 50,000 gallons of oil into the river. (photo: John Warner/Reuters)
Authorities are scrambling to decontaminate the water in the Yellowstone River near the city of Glendive, Montana, after an oil spill on Saturday released nearly 50,000 gallons of oil into the river. (photo: John Warner/Reuters)

hy do pipelines break? Because they’re pipelines, that’s why.

The Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration confirmed the location of the break, but couldn’t say whether the 12-inch diameter Bridger pipeline, which began releasing oil into the river Saturday, lay bare on the river bottom.

Not only that, but this is the second crack that oil has had at fouling this particular river.

In 2011, when an exposed oil pipeline ruptured at the bottom of the Yellowstone River near Laurel, the pipe was assumed to be buried well under the riverbed. It was later determined that an unusually high river flow had scoured several feet of rock cover leaving the pipeline vulnerable.

Pipelines are state of the art technology, unless they’re required to operate in cold weather and amid unexpected phenomona like ice in Montana in January.

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BP: Lake Michigan Oil Spill was Actually Twice as Big as We Originally Said


Lindsay Abrams | Salon | Reader Supported News | March 30, 2014

or a company that just received permission to start pursuing new oil in the still-suffering Gulf of Mexico, BP isn’t doing the best job of convincing us it’s ready to be back playing with the big kids.

Monday afternoon, the company’s Whiting refinery in Indiana spilled what a BP incident management team identified as nine to 18 barrels of oil into Lake Michigan. Thursday, it revised that estimate, more than doubling the estimate to somewhere between 15 and 39 barrels. At a maximum of 1,638 gallons, that’s small beans compared to its worst disaster, but it’s still some Oreo.

The earlier estimate, according to the company, was based on the sheen on the lake’s surface; the updated figure was based on oil collected during the clean-up effort.

Before the revised estimate was announced, Chicago senators Mark Kirk, a Republican, and Dick Durbin, a Democrat, requested a meeting with the company to discuss what’s going on at its refinery, Reuters reports:

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Train Spills 12,000 Gallons Of Oil In Minnesota, No Major Cleanup Effort Planned


Emily Atkin | Think Progress | February 6, 2014

shutterstock_91428341CREDIT: shutterstock

12,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from a Canadian Pacific Railway train on Monday in Minnesota, dribbling oil along the tracks for 68 miles, according to local media reports.

Officials at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said Tuesday they would investigate the cause of the spill, but said no major cleanup effort was planned because of its relatively small size (one single tanker car carries 26,000 gallons) and the way that it happened: the tanker carrying the oil didn’t derail and leak all in one place, rather oil gradually splattered out of the car between the rails onto the track bed as the train was moving. The leak, according to the Star-Tribune, was traced to a valve or cap problem.

“It’s like it spray-painted oil,” MPCA spokesperson Cathy Rofshus told the Leader-Telegram. There were no reported pools of oil, Rofshus added, saying the agency would continue to monitor the area’s conditions.

Concerns about the safety of transporting crude by rail have ballooned in the last year, most infamously characterized by the deadly derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec this past summer. The derailment caused a 1.5 million gallon oil spill, and an explosion which killed 47 people. Federal regulators recently reported that more oil has spilled from rail cars in 2013 than in the last four decades combined, which is in line with how much the practice itself has increased.

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5 Great Lakes Species Facing Threats From Big Oil Pipelines


An oiled bird from Oil Spill in San Francisco ...

An oiled bird from Oil Spill in San Francisco Bay. About 58,000 gallons of oil spilled from a South Korea-bound container ship when it struck a tower supporting the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in dense fog on 11/07/07. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jane Kirchner | EcoWatch | Reader Supported News | September 24, 2013

The Great Lakes are the world’s largest surface freshwater ecosystem and their waters and shoreline areas provide habitat for a breathtaking array of wildlife. But with a recent increase in oil surging through aging pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac – the narrow waterway connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron – the chance of a devastating spill in the Great Lakes has greatly increased. Meet five Great Lakes wildlife and take action to help protect them from a toxic oil spill.

Great Blue Heron

Found across the Great Lakes region, this wading bird with the impressive wingspan up to six-and-a-half feet often hunts by standing perfectly motionless in shallow waters. During the Kalamazoo River oil spill in 2010, oil pooled up in the shallows and overbanks where heron fish – resulting in heavy oiling and stress.

Piping Plover

Endangered piping plovers nest on the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan where their tiny young chicks blend in with pebbles and beach stones. When the fluffy chicks sense danger, they hunker silently to the ground. Recovery of oil along the beaches of our Great Lakes would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, with impacts remaining for decades as seen with the Exxon Valdez and Enbridge Kalamazoo River oil spills. In large spills it is very unusual to recover even 10 percent of spilled oil, meaning that once spilled, there is little that can be done to clean it up.

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Halliburton pleads guilty to destroying evidence in Gulf spill


English: Halliburton offices on Bellaire Boule...

English: Halliburton offices on Bellaire Boulevard in Westchase, Houston (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Agence France-Presse | September 19, 2013

Halliburton pleaded guilty Thursday to destroying evidence relating to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the Justice Department said.

Halliburton was sentenced to the maximum fine allowed, the department said in a statement.

The court statement did not disclose the amount, but Halliburton put it at $200,000 and three years’ probation.

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The Tar Sands Oil Leak No One Knows How to Stop


Cold Lake is a large lake in Northern Alberta ...

Cold Lake is a large lake in Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Katie Valentine and Ryan Koronowski | ThinkProgress | Reader Supported News | July 30, 2013

A Canadian oil company still hasn’t been able to stop a series leaks from underground wells at a tar sands operation in Cold Lake, Alberta. The first leak was reported on May 20, with three others following in the weeks after – making it at least 10 weeks that oil has been flowing unabated.

Indeed, recent documents show that the company responsible for the spill estimates that the tar sands oil has been leaking into the ecosystem for around four months, based on winter snow coverage.

As of July 19, at least 26,000 barrels of bitumen mixed with surface water has been cleaned up from the site, but Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL), the owner of the operation, hasn’t specified the total amount of oil that has leaked. Documents show that about 67,400 pounds of oily vegetation has been cleared away from the latest of the four spill zones, and the Alberta environment ministry says the spill has killed 11 birds, four small mammals and 21 amphibians so far. CNRL did say in a press release Thursday that the “initial impacted area” of the spill was about 50 acres, which includes a lake, a vast swath of boreal forest, and muskeg – the acidic, marshy soil found in boreal forests.

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