75% of Pipeline Spill in North Dakota Entered Waterway

By Yessenia Funes Dec 14, 2016

North Dakota regulators spoke out yesterday (December 13) on the pipeline spill that occurred December 5 just 150 miles from Cannon Ball, North Dakota and the movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The six-inch wide pipeline, operated by the Belle Fourche Pipeline Company of Wyoming, leaked a total 176,400 gallons of crude oil—the largest release of crude oil since 2013, according to The Wall Street Journal. Seventy-five percent of the spill flowed into the Ash Coulee Creek, officials announced yesterday. Officials are still investigating the cause, but equipment failed to detect the spill. Instead, a landowner found it.

#NoDAPL water protectors have been pointing to this spill as an example of what can happen to the Missouri River, as the Little Missouri River is connected to the Ash Coulee Creek (which appears unscathed from the incident). “Pipelines spill; it’s not if, it’s when,” wrote Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network, on a Facebook post. “And the state-of-the-art ‘leak detectors’ the pipeline companies always tout don’t work.”

Tara Houska, national campaigns director at Honor the Earth and indigenous attorney, wrote on Facebook, in reaction to the spill, “But it will be safe THIS time, right?”

Local towns should expect no risk, according to The Wall Street Journal, but the state is still looking into how the area’s flora and fauna were affected. So far, at least two cows have been confirmed dead near the spill, reported the Bismarck Tribune, but a veterinarian must still confirm the causes of death.

 (H/t The Wall Street Journal, Bismarck Tribune)