A Chevron pipeline located on public land in northwestern Colorado has released over 4,800 gallons of oil into a nearby stream and killed nearby wildlife.
The spill, which happened in Rio Blanco County, was detected on March 5 by a Chevron consultant. It was immediately shut down following the leak.
The 6-inch pipeline leaked crude oil that travelled about 2 miles downstream along Stinking Water Creek near the town of Rangely. It was stopped by a small dam that had been installed downstream as a preventive measure against spills.
Recently, the Center for Western Priorities found that Chevron was behind 31 reported pipeline spills in Colorado in 2016. There was a total of 509 reported spills in 2016. Chevron ranks as the fourth highest oil and gas spiller in the state.
Previous years had 615 spills in 2015 and 712 in 2014. The decrease in spills is most likely due to less drilling activity.
According to Chevron spokeswoman Erika Conner, a few animals have died as a result of the spill. Two mallard ducks were covered in oil and died after being transferred to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Other animal deaths include small birds and mice.
Conner stated, “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been notified. We regret the impact the release has had on the affected animals and are working diligently to avoid any additional impacts to wildlife.”
Crews have already been dispatched and have begun work cleaning up the spill.
The cause of the pipeline failure is under investigation.