Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
Exxon Mobil said on Friday that a pipeline that failed two weeks ago, leaking oil into the Yellowstone River, routinely transported a heavier and more toxic form of crude than the company and federal regulators initially acknowledged.
The Silvertip pipeline carries so-called tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada, as do the U.S. pipelines of most major oil companies, Exxon spokeswoman Karen Matusic told Reuters.
Matusic said the tar sands crude was present along various segments of the pipeline but not at the spill site in Montana.
“Oil from Canada was in the line, but not that area that was affected by the breach. The oil that spilled out, that oil came from Wyoming,” she told Reuters, referring to sweet crude produced in oil fields at the Montana-Wyoming border.
Tar sands oil or bitumen, derived from tar sands or oil sands, contains more toxic components than the sweet, or low sulfur, crude that Exxon and government regulators initially said flowed in the Silvertip…
The news comes amid an intensifying debate over TransCanada Corp.’s proposed $7 billion pipeline to carry more than half a million barrels a day of tar sands crude from Alberta to U.S. refineries in the Midwest and the Texas Gulf Coast…
Citing a University of Nebraska study released this week, activists say spills from pipes weakened by the corrosive and abrasive agents in tar sands crude would contaminate water supplies for hundreds of thousands of Americans and destroy bottomlands in the nation’s midsection vital for endangered birds like the whooping crane…
Environmental groups on Friday pointed to the July 1 rupture of the 69-mile Silvertip, which spilled what Exxon estimates at 42,000 gallons of oil, or 1,000 barrels, into the Yellowstone River west of Billings.
Officials with the U.S. Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said on Wednesday they had just learned that the Silvertip carried oil from Canada.
Federal inspectors were trying to determine if transport of the synthetic petroleum product could have triggered internal corrosion that may have played a role in the rupture.
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has faulted Exxon for failing to tell the state exactly what kinds of crude ran in the pipeline or spell out what hazardous chemicals were in the mix now contaminating riverside properties and sickening at least five residents.
How old were the licenses for the pipeline? Anyone checking up on the reality of what’s transported? Frankly, the “new and improved” regulators seem to be a trusting and gullible as their predecessors.