In a new short documentary called “Pipeline Nation: America’s Broken Industry,” Vice News travels to Glendive, Montana, where a pipeline ruptured on January 17 of this year, spilling 50,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River and contaminating the town’s drinking supply.
This was the second oil spill in the area in the past four years. An Exxon pipeline spilled over 60,000 gallons of crude into the Yellowstone River near Billings, Montana in 2011.
The spill near Glendive involved Bakken crude, which is lighter and more volatile than heavy crude and evaporates more quickly, making it difficult to clean up.
“Our recovery of oil out of the water, it’s just… we’re not really getting much,” Paul Peronard, On-Site Coordinator for the EPA, tells Vice’s Nilo Tabrizy in the film. “Three-hundred-something barrels out of the pipeline in this immediate area, less than a couple barrels actually out of the water. So pretty much what is in the water is there and gone. And we aren’t going to recover it.”
“We never — and I’ll be clear about that — we never recover all the oil. Somebody who tells you that is telling you stories. In good conditions, you get half of the oil that hits the water.”
DeSmog Canada has been named as a finalist for “Best News Coverage” by the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.