Once again a crude oil pipeline has leaked thousands of gallons of oil into the environment.
Oklahoma Corporation Commission notified the federal government on Friday afternoon of a pipeline leak that spilled 450 barrels – or just under 19,000 gallons – of crude oil on surrounding farmland in Kingfisher County.
According to reports from the National Response Center, the cause of the leak was likely “internal corrosion.”
The pipeline is owned by Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. An official statement from the company reads:
“We are following our emergency response plan, and our staff is working with regulators and affected landowners. Our current priorities are to ensure the safety of all involved and limit the environmental impact of the release.”
Workers have been cleaning up the spill since the leak was discovered. A portion of the pipeline has been removed and employees of the pipeline company are collecting contaminated grass and crops.
Nearby wheat farmer and cattle rancher Steve Pope told local news KFOR that he has lost an estimated 120 acres of pasture and wheat crop from the spill.
“A lot of the regulations that have been put on the oil companies are there for a reason. Sure, there are probably some that are over-regulated, but, without those regulations, I wonder if I would have had as quick of a response for guys to come out here and start cleaning this up.”
Luckily the situation was not worse. The spill happened only 1,000 feet from a nearby creek that feeds into Cimarron River, but was contained on Pope’s land. Pope told reporters that it was lucky they hadn’t put cattle out yet to graze, as so much of the grass is now contaminated. Pope and his wife will now have to spend days, if not weeks, collecting water and other samples, and taking photos, for evidence of the damage.
Plains All American Pipeline has been behind at least 25 pipeline incidents in the state of Oklahoma since 2004, with more than half of them due to corrosion. At least six were due to material, welding, or equipment failures.
Aljazeera pointed out that they have 10 citations for oil spills that violated the Clean Water Act in Oklahoma and several other states. They have also been subject to a federal lawsuit for their violations. Recently the company was responsible for a ruptured pipeline in California that spilled over 100,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean, killing hundreds of bird and mammals.