Year 4, Month 7, Day 10: I Heard It Through The Pipeline

Another day, another ruptured pipeline. Fort McMurry Today (Canada) reports:

Officials have confirmed that hundreds of barrels of crude oil have leaked from a ruptured Enbridge pipeline south of Fort McMurray, contaminating a nearby stream.

According to company spokesperson Glen Whelan, a leak was detected at approximately 5:20 a.m. on Line 37, a pipeline located 70 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray between Anzac and Janvier.

Emergency crews found that approximately 750 barrels of light synthetic crude oil had ruptured from the pipeline. The crude slid down an embankment, contaminating an unnamed stream. Whelan says Enbridge shut the pipeline down “within minutes of the alarm warning.”

As of Saturday night, Whelan did not know how long it took emergency crews to respond to the scene, or how long the pipeline had been leaking.

The company is still investigating the cause behind the leak. However, investigators believe heavy rainfall in northern Alberta may have loosened the soil surrounding the pipeline, creating ground movement on the right-of-way that may have impacted the pipeline.

Clean up crews have installed booms in the area, preventing the crude oil from spreading to other areas and waterways.

Innumeracy is a useful element in the corporate game plan. June 23:

Good news! Enbridge managed to shut down their pipeline after a mere 750 barrels of toxic crude oil leaked into a nearby stream. That doesn’t sound like that much, does it? Let’s do the math and find out. A barrel turns out to hold just under 159 liters, so 750 times 159…hmmm, carry the four…. Well, that’s not so terribly reassuring. 120,000 liters is actually quite a lot of oil, especially when it gets spilled in a vulnerable ecosystem.

And here is the central problem with trusting the fossil fuel industry to act in the best interests of our society. Their business model depends on our society’s continued consumption of a substance which is highly poisonous across all scales of time, from the short term (contaminated water supplies, devastated ecosystems) to the long term (CO2 buildup in the atmosphere). In Enbridge’s corporate mission statement, responsible environmental stewardship can never be more than a footnote.

Warren Senders

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