US has more oil spills than you think
The US has more oil spills than we thought and the number doubled after production increased six years ago.
8,000 “Significant” Incidents
Richard Stover, PhD, and the Center for Biological Diversity counted nearly 8,000 significant incidents, between 1986 and 2014, in records of the pipeline safety administration. By “significant” they mean causing injury, death, damages exceeding $50,000 in value, a loss of 5 barrels of highly volatile substances, 50 barrels of other liquids or there was an explosion. There have been more than 500 human deaths and 2,300 injuries through-out that period. The number of plant and animal casualties is much higher.
Though most pipeline failures occur where there is a long history of development, they occur through-out the Lower 48. Texas is the worst offender, with 1657 incidents. California had 621 and 48 deaths.
The leading causes of incidents are excavation damages (24.3%), corrosion (18.2%) and equipment failure (17.1%).
After A Pipeline is 20 Years Old
Kristen Monsell, from the Center for Biological Diversity said the possibility of a spill “doubles after a pipeline is 20 years old.” In the case of the recent Santa Barbara spill, for example, “the pipeline was 28 years old” and had corroded to the point the wall was only 1/16 of a inch thick.
“Scientists tell us that we will never know how many animals have been killed (by the Santa Barbara spill) … (Many animals) will sink to the bottom of the ocean. We’ll likely be seeing the impact for years and years to come,” said Monsell.
“The day after the oil spill, a report came out that dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico are still dying as a result of the Deep Horizon spill (in 2010). When dolphins swim through oil soaked waters, they breath in toxic fumes from the hydro-carbons. That cause lesions on their lungs and these animals were dying from lung disease.”
The statistics for Deep Horizon are numbing: 128 dead or affected dolphins and whales, 1,146 sea turtles and more than 8,200 birds were collected. There is no tally fish or plant life. Scientists believe these statistics are only a small fraction of the actual casualties.
Monsell wonders about some of the aging infrastructure off California’s coast.
Continue reading at ENN affiliate, The ECOReport.
Oil spill image via Shutterstock.