Monday, July 8, 2013

Another Gas Pipeline Rupture in Montana

Early in July a gasoline pipeline outside of the small town of Lodge Grass on Montana's Crow Indian Reservation spilled 25,000 gallons of gasoline. Over the last 20 years there have been at least three spills from the 8-inch underground pipeline now owned by Phillips 66.

The Lodge Grass spill comes almost two years to the day after 63,000 gallons of crude spilled into Montana's Yellowstone River from an Exxon Mobil line. The cleanup and repair costs for that spill totaled more than $135 million.

Phillips 66 is a Houston-based oil refinery and chemical company. They said the boken pipe outside of Lodge Grass will have to be excavated to be repaired and the contaminated soil likely will have to be removed.

The Seminoe pipeline carries gasoline, diesel and other refined petroleum products from Phillips 66's Billings refinery to Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. It has a maximum daily capacity of 46,000 barrels, which is equivalent to more than 1.9 million gallons.

Gasoline is highly toxic and gives off more dangerous fumes and is far more flamable than crude oil. When mixed with water gasoline can be even more damaging than oil.

In the same general area, the same pipeline spilled 2,300 barrels of gasoline in two seperate spills in one week in 1997.

The two spills and another 2001 pipeline leak near Conrad, Mont., resulted in a half million dollar settlement ($465,000) for violating the Clean Water Act. The line's former owner, Conoco Pipe Line Co.,

The environmentally destructive impacts of leaking pipelines are hardly the only concern associated with transporting fossil fuels. In Nigeria 120 people were burned alive in a pipeline rupture and fire in 2011 and more recently the small town of Megantic Quebec was decimated by the derailment of a train carrying oil.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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