It’s a bad week for Big Oil. There have been 3 major oil spills this week, and in an effort to quell the fears about the Dakota Access Pipeline, representatives for Big Oil may have outright lied to the media about the extent of the oil spills.
Shell Pipeline shut down their West Columbia, Texas pipeline last Friday after the US National Response Center showed 700 barrels had been lost, amounting to almost 30,000 gallons of crude oil.
But on Monday, Shell representatives said inspectors found “no evidence” of an oil leak.
Days later it was revealed that a leak had actually occurred. Representatives with the US Coast Guard confirmed to Dow Jones on Thursday that roughly 50 barrels of oil spilled from a pipeline near Houston, Texas. The oil followed a waterway into the Gulf of Mexico.
Shell was initially presented with data that said nearly 700 barrels of oil were spilled, but that number was later reduced to just 60 barrels.
“That’s a very early estimate – things can change,” Officer Lehman told Dow Jones.
Meanwhile, in Arkansas, a rupture in an ExxonMobil pipeline last week resulted in thousands of barrels of oil being spilled into the town of Mayflower, 25 miles outside of Little Rock. More than 20 homes had to be evacuated due to the spill. More than19,000 barrels have been recovered since the initial leak.
And in Canada this week, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd told the press that 4 barrels of oil were lost when one of their trains derailed. That number increased to 400 barrels — or roughly 16,800 gallons — after a full investigation was done, and media arrived asking questions.
USA Today reported in 2010 that U.S. Minerals Management Services says the annual total of oil spills had increased, from an average of 4 spills per year of 50 barrels or more in the 1990s to more than 17 per year from 2000 to 2009.
According to Wikipedia, there have been at least 75 oil spills worldwide since the year 2000.
In fact, Wikipedia lists less than 10 spills occurring between 1907 and 1970. This low level of oil spills is most likely due to the fact that oil pipelines were just coming into the market as a viable fuel transportation option. But since Big Oil has adopted pipelines as their choice mode of carrying oil, oil spills have increased along with the number of pipelines.
These spills come at a very bad time, as protestors at the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) are using these reports of recent oil spills as evidence that pipelines are still not environmentally safe.
Protestors at DAPL claim that pipelines are not as safe as Big Oil would like the public like to believe, and it’s irresponsible to construct any more pipelines before major technological improvements can guarantee the safety of people and the environment./SOURCE