Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hello, anyone notice oil and gas pipelines are breaking?

This is no small combination of events. While Republicans whine and complain about the “job killing” delays over the Keystone Pipeline, minimizing any possible environmental impact it might have in the event of a leak, the state is now cleaning up two pipeline breaks that could be a harbinger of things to come. The first break is by a Canadian repeat offender:
Hudson Star Observer
An oil pipeline break in Adams County: The oil spill is keeping crews in the Grand Marsh area working around the clock on cleanup. Enbridge Energy Partners, a Canadian Company that owns the pipeline, says the spill wasn't near any waterways and was contained to a small area. 
We’re talking “dirty oil,” a thicker, more corrosive crude that doesn’t float on water, but sinks. That makes cleanup almost impossible. That’s why Michigan had such a big problem on their hands.
Channel3000: (Enbridge Energy is the) same operator of an oil pipeline that cracked in 2010 and gushed nearly a million gallons of oil into a Michigan creek and river failed to make repairs and take appropriate action after recognizing structural problems several years earlier, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Enbridge Inc. took more than 17 hours to shut down operations after the 30-inch-diameter pipeline ruptured and released crude oil into a wetland area near Marshall, Michigan … the incident was the largest oil spill in the Midwestern United States. During the spill, three shifts of employees monitoring the pipeline from the command center in Edmonton, Alberta, received multiple warning alarms, but dismissed them as being caused by column separation, or bubbles of vapor in the pipeline.
Even worse-more Dirty Oil: 
“U.S. imports of what environmentalists are calling "dirty oil" are set to triple over the next decade, raising concerns over the environmental impact of extracting it and whether pipelines can safely transport this Canadian oil.”
News coverage is surprisingly spotty at this point, and brief. Like this gas pipeline spill, one of the ten largest in the country, as reported by Channel3000:

Officials say environmental monitoring of a massive gasoline spill in Wisconsin could continue for months and perhaps years. A crew of about two dozen workers continues to clean up the site in the Washington County Town of Jackson. An estimated 55,000 gallons of gas leaked from a broken pipeline owned by West Shore Pipe Line Co. last week. The line has since been reopened. The U.S. Department of Transportation said the spill is one of the 10 largest in the country this year. Department of Natural Resources spills coordinator Scott Ferguson says sampling of all wells within a half-mile radius of the spill should be done by Friday, but the results might not be known until next week.  

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