A pipeline less than three hours drive from where water protectors are camped out at Standing Rock in North Dakota has leaked more than 175,000 gallons of crude oil into the nearby water supply.
As previously reported, the Belle Fourche pipeline was shut down after a leak was discovered last Monday. Until now it was unknown how much oil had actually been spilled, and the leak had not been detected by monitoring equipment. A local landowner discovered the leak.
The pipeline has leaked into a tributary of the Little Missouri River and into a hillside. The majority of the spill, over 130,000 gallons spilled into the river, with over 46,000 leaking into the hillside. It has also contaminated 5.4 miles of the Ash Coulee Creek.
At least two cows have been confirmed dead near the site of the spill, but the cause of death has not been verified.
The owner of the pipeline, True Companies, is the same company behind the 2015 pipeline rupture in Montana that spilled more than 40,000 gallons of crude into the Yellowstone River.
According to environmental scientist Bill Seuss, cleanup of this spill may last until spring.
This is just another instance of a pipeline spill. They happen all the time, in fact there have been more than 11,000 reported “significant incidents,” such as spills, injuries, deaths and costly accidents, involving pipelines since 1996. Yet companies like Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, insist that they are “safe.”