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U.S. Fossil Fuel Spills, Messes, Accidents, Disasters: We're Keeping Track

5 min. read

Fossil fuel spills, messes, accidents and even disasters occur all the time, but it's highly likely that most aren't reported by the media. In this feature on Scaling Green, we're going to keep an informal, running tally of notable oil, natural gas, and coal messes in the United States that were reported in the news media. And just for run, we'll also throw in any solar spills, aka "sunny days," that happen to come along. For instance, today (April 3, 2014) is a beautiful, sunny day in Arlington, Virginia, where Scaling Green is headquartered.

April 30, 2014: Crude Oil Train Derails, Catches Fire, Spills Into Virginia’s James River ("A CSX freight train carrying crude oil derailed in Lynchburg, Virginia Wednesday afternoon around 2 p.m. according to local authorities, 'causing extensive flames and dense black smoke' to reach into the air.")
April 30, 2014: BP Well Sprays Crude Oil Mist Over 27 Acres Of Alaskan Tundra ("A large pipe attached to a BP-owned well pad on Alaska’s North Slope has sprayed an oily mist of natural gas, crude oil, and water over an area of tundra larger than 20 football fields, state officials confirmed Wednesday.")
March 24, 2014: BP more than doubles estimate of oil spill in Lake Michigan ("BP, the petroleum giant, has more than doubled its estimate of how much crude oil it spilled this week into Lake Michigan, a source of drinking water for some 7 million people in Chicago and its suburbs.")
March 22, 2014: Shipping Channel Opens Partially After Huge Oil Spill in Galveston Bay ("Almost 100 ships had been waiting to pass since 4,000 barrels of oil leaked into Galveston Bay on Saturday from a barge that collided with a ship.")
March 21, 2014: Hiland Crude Pipeline Spills Oil Near Alexander, ND ("Cleanup workers have contained about 34,000 gallons of crude that spewed from a broken oil pipeline in northwestern North Dakota, a state health official said Friday.")
December 30, 2013: 400,000 gallons of crude oil spilled in North Dakota train crash ("About 400,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from 18 rail cars after after a Dec. 30 derailment near Casselton, N.D...An ensuing explosion sent a massive mushroom cloud of fire above the prairie and forced the evacuation of 1,400 residents")
March 29, 2013: 2013 Mayflower oil spill ("...an ExxonMobil pipeline carrying Canadian Wabasca heavy crude from the Athabasca oil sands ruptured in Mayflower, Arkansas, about 25 miles northwest of Little Rock... A reported 5,000−7,000 barrels of crude were spilled" from Exxon's Pegasus pipeline.)
March 9, 2013: 2013 Magnolia Refinery Oil Spill ("...the line between a vital pump and an oil storage container broke...a reported 15,000 barrels...of crude oil into the Little Corney Creek [near] the town of Magnolia, Arkansas. The resulting oil slick was approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long on the surface of the water...")
October 29, 2012: Arthur Kill Oil Spill: Hurricane Sandy's Surge Dumps Diesel Into New Jersey Waterway ("...almost 350,000 gallons of fuel that spilled as a result of superstorm Sandy...a tank ruptured at a storage facility owned by Motiva Enterprises LLC, a joint venture of Shell and Saudi Refining Inc. Diesel spilled into the Arthur Kill, a narrow waterway separating New Jersey and Staten Island...")
July 1, 2011: Yellowstone River Oil Spill ("An ExxonMobil pipeline which runs from Silver Tip, to Billings, Montana ruptured about 10 miles west of Billings...The resulting spill leaked an estimated 1,500 barrels of oil into the Yellowstone River...for 56 minutes before it was shut down.")
July 26, 2010: Kalamazoo River oil spill ("...a 40-foot pipe segment in Line 6B, located approximately 0.6 of a mile downstream of the Marshall, Michigan pump station, ruptured. The rupture in the Enbridge Energy pipeline caused a 877,000 US gallons (3,320 m3) spill of diluted bitumen also called tar sands or heavy crude oil originating from Canada (Alberta and Saskatchewan) into Talmadge Creek in Calhoun County, Michigan, which flows into the Kalamazoo River")

October 9, 2013: Oklahoma Pipeline Explosion Sparks Large Fire, Prompting Evacuations ("An explosion on a pipeline in northwestern Oklahoma sparked a large and roaring fire...Engineers were also called in to cut off the natural gas flow to the pipeline, which is owned by Northern Natural Gas of Omaha, and brings gas from Texas to the Upper Midwest.")
August 20, 2013: Fire put out on Oklahoma natural gas pipeline after blast ("A fire on Tuesday caused by an explosion at a natural gas pipeline owned by Enable Midstream Partners near Kiowa, Oklahoma, has been extinguished...")

February 3, 2014: Up To 82,000 Tons Of Toxic Coal Ash Spilled Into North Carolina River From ‘Antiquated’ Storage Pit ("Duke Energy, which owns the Dan River Steam Station, retired since 2012, estimates that 50,000 to 82,000 tons of coal ash and up to 27 million gallons of water were released from the 27-acre storage pond [into the Dan River]...Coal ash is a toxic waste byproduct from burning coal, usually stored with water in large ponds.")
January 9, 2014: 2014 Elk River chemical spill ("crude 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol...was released from a Freedom Industries facility into the Elk River, a tributary of the Kanawha River, in Charleston...West Virginia...up to 300,000 residents within nine counties in the Charleston, West Virginia metropolitan area were without access to potable water.")

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Topics: Clean Economy