More than 700 Oil Spills in North Dakota Reported in the Same Month Pipeline Opens

Oil spills in North Dakota

Alex Pietrowski
Waking Times

There’s more reason to be concerned about the Dakota Access Pipeline than you may think. The distress expressed by water protesters at Standing Rock is not just for the sake of opposing big oil. There is a valid reason: the prevalence of oil spills in North Dakota.

To emphasize this possibility, let’s take a look at the number of oils pills in North Dakota recently reported by the North Dakota Department of Health. Chris Clarke at KCET, a non-profit community media organization, recaps the report:

In the year ending on May 1, 2017, according to the state’s Department of Health, the state’s oil and gas industry reported 745 involved oil spills — on average, a spill every 11 hours and 45 minutes.

Clearly, one can understand why so many have protested the Dakota Access Pipeline, which opens this month. This particular pipeline was built under the Missouri River, which is the primary water source for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

  • Recent Oil Spills in North Dakota

    It goes without argument that oil pipelines are less secure than the companies building them want us to believe. Furthermore, because spill detection technology is somewhat lacking, many of the 745 leaks in North Dakota last year resulted in substantial contamination.

    For example, in December 2016, nearly 530,000 gallons of oil leaked from the Belle Fourche Pipeline in Billings County. The leak contaminated private land, US Forest Service grazing land, and Ash Coulee Creek. This was just 2.5 hours from Standing Rock.

    Furthermore, what’s somewhat horrifying is how True Companies, which owns the Belle Fourche Pipeline, found out about the leak. A landowner notified them when he stumbled upon the leak. Did we mention that spill detection technology is lacking? Clearly, an important disconnect exists.

    Last 15 Years Weren’t Any Different

    The leak in December 2016 is not an isolated incident. True Companies reported ten oil spills since 2011. In 2015, the company’s Poplar Pipeline leaked about 30,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River. This prompted a town to shut down drinking water service to 6,000 of its residents.

    Rather than dismissing these two examples as isolated incidents, consider the following. The New York Times reports that between 2006 and 2014, more than 1,300 oil pipeline spills occurred in North Dakota. In 2006, over one million gallons leaked out into the county of McKenzie. The same county experienced a leak in 2014 with another 1,008,000 gallons of oil spilling into the environment.

    Consequently, it is clear why protesters and landowners are concerned about the structural integrity of oil pipes. Oil leak examples presented in this article are not unique. Oil spills in North Dakota are actually quite common. What’s to make us believe that the Dakota Access Pipeline will not follow this alarming trend?

    About the Author

    Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for and Offgrid Outpost, a provider of storable food and emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.

    This article (More than 700 Oil Spills in North Dakota Reported in the Same Month Pipeline Opens) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

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