While most of us are enjoying lower gasoline and natural gas prices these days – a big help to the family budget – it is increasingly difficult to defend the oil and gas industry when it keeps polluting our treasured natural resources.
The most recent incident occurred in Pennsylvania, and it involves the same company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, and which bulldozed ancient Native American burial sites: Sunoco.
What’s the extent of the damage this time?
“Crews will use skimmers to remove gasoline from the top of affected waterways and will erect containment booms downstream,” Sunoco Logistics said in a statement, as reported by Fortune.But even after the flow of gasoline within the pipeline was cut off, the same heavy rains that caused the leak continued for several hours, making it impossible to measure the extent of the leak and the damage right away.The breach led Pennsylvania water authorities to warn customers to hold off from using water from the river for the time being, until environmental authorities can determine the level of contamination, Fortune noted further.So far, nothing official in terms of data has been released by environmental officials.
Violence over pipeline construction
Tribal members and activists made national headlines in September after crashing through fences surrounding the $3.8 billion project and confronting security guards, some of whom unleashed guard dogs on protestors. Some reports at the time claimed that protestors were hurling rocks at security guards and were striking dogs with wooden sticks.A federal judge had denied the tribe’s request to halt construction of the site, but the Washington Times reported that the Obama administration “took the drastic step” of overruling the judge and temporarily stopping construction.Environmentalists worried about the pipeline note that Sunoco Logistics spills crude more often than any of its competitors, having experienced more than 200 leaks since 2010, Fortune reported, citing a Reuters analysis of government data.It’s not clear what the final result will be, however. Powerful oil company interests are driving the construction of the pipeline, which is expected to carry crude to Texas and Louisiana for refining into gasoline and other oil-based fuels and products.