oil spill

Derailed Oil Train Spills 230,000 Gallons of Tar Sands in Flooded Iowa River

Read time: 7 mins
Iowa oil train spill and derailment

On June 22, a train carrying Canadian crude oil derailed in northwestern Iowa, releasing an estimated 230,000 gallons of oil into a flooded river. As a result of the derailment, over 30 rail tank cars ended up in the water, with 14 cars confirmed to have leaked oil.

To put the size of this spill in perspective, an Enbridge pipeline that leaked in Michigan in July 2010 released roughly 1,000,000 gallons of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River. Cleanup for this spill, one of the largest inland oil spills on record, took years and more than $1 billion. 

Like the Kalamazoo River spill, the train that derailed in Iowa was carrying tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada.

Oil Spill Laps Shores During Chevron-Sponsored French Quarter Festival

Read time: 3 mins

On April 12, an oil spill in the Mississippi River brought noxious fumes to music lovers at the New Orleans French Quarter Festival. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates 4,200 gallons of *heavy fuel oil spilled when a cargo ship hit the Nashville Wharf. 

Secrecy Around Composition of Oilsands Dilbit Makes Effective Spill Response, Research Impossible: New Study

Read time: 4 mins

Knowledge gaps about the behaviour of diluted bitumen when it is spilled into saltwater and lack of information about how to deal with multiple problems that can result from extracting and transporting bitumen from the Alberta oilsands, make it impossible for government or industry to come up with effective policies to deal with a disaster, says a newly published research paper, Oilsands and the Marine Environment.

In Photos: Lessons from the Scene of the Sea Empress Oil Spill

Read time: 7 mins

Dr. Robin Crump had a front row seat to one of the world’s worst oil spills.

Twenty years ago, on Feb. 15, 1996, the Sea Empress oil tanker ran aground on mid-channel rocks in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in Wales.

Over the course of the following week, the Sea Empress spilled almost 18 million gallons — 80 million litres — of crude oil, making it Britain’s third largest oil spill and the world’s 12th largest at the time.

Beaches were coated in a thick brown chocolate mousse of petroleum. Thousands of birds and other creatures perished. The rare species, Asterina Phylactica, first discovered by Dr. Crump, was reduced to a handful of individuals. Thanks in large part to Crump’s efforts, the species was well on the road to recovery within six months.

Review of 9,000 Studies Finds We Know Squat About Bitumen Spills in Ocean Environments

Read time: 4 mins

Nobody knows how a spill of diluted bitumen would affect marine life or whether a bitumen spill in salt water could be adequately cleaned up, because basic research is lacking, says a new study.

The peer-reviewed paper, which will be published later this month in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, looked at more than 9,000 studies of the effect of oilsands products on the marine environment.

In Photos: Bella Bella Diesel Fuel Spill Two Weeks In

Read time: 6 mins

It has been two weeks since the Nathan E. Stewart, a U.S.-based fuel barge tug, struck ground and sank near Bella Bella, B.C., contaminating the harvest waters of the Heiltsuk First Nation with an estimated 60,000 gallons of diesel fuel.  

During that time coastal residents have watched with dismay as spill response efforts have been hampered repeatedly by unfavourable weather, failed spill containment and even one incident where a spill response ship took on water and itself began to sink.

But the ongoing failure to contain and clean up the spill has been witnessed most closely by members of the Heiltsuk First Nation, who have been on the frontlines of the spill response effort since day one.

Could the International Criminal Court Start Prosecuting Climate Crimes?

Read time: 5 mins
International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court at The Hague (ICC) has released a new set of proposed rule changes that could open the door to prosecuting individuals, governments, and perhaps even corporations for environmental crimes against humanity, such as oil spills, deforestation, and excessive carbon emissions.

Canadian Civil Society: Freeze Chevron Assets, Use To Cover Ecuador Judgement on Amazon Destruction

Read time: 5 mins

A court in Toronto will soon begin deliberating over whether or not to seize Chevron's Canadian assets in order to force the company to comply with an $9.5-billion judgement in Ecuador.

The company doesn’t deny that Texaco, which Chevron bought in 2000, deliberately dumped billions of gallons of toxic oil waste in the Ecuadorian Amazon, resulting in massive environmental devastation and a health crisis affecting thousands of people. But the company claims it did its part to clean up the rainforest.

BP Announces Final Estimate Of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, But Are They Being Honest?

Read time: 3 mins
Julie Dermansky

On July 14th, oil giant BP announced that they had finally finished their calculations and the final estimate for costs of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill would likely hit $62 billion. This cost includes all of the settlements and lawsuits from individuals, lawsuits from cities and states, federal lawsuits, and civil penalties and cleanup costs.

According to reports, the “after tax” total is closer to $44 billion, still a massive sum to pay out for any company.

Nearly every article available discussing these payments deals with the business impacts and market value of the company. The Washington Post says that the company has lost 1/3 of their market size as a result of the spill, which was about $180 billion before the disaster.

Lip service is paid to the victims of the spill and the long-lasting effects that the disaster had on the Gulf of Mexico, and one vital fact has been missing completely from the analysis: Taxpayers are the ones who are really getting screwed with this deal.

California Oil Pipeline Ruptures Hours After Obama Signs Pipeline Safety Bill

Read time: 2 mins

On Wednesday, June 22nd, President Obama signed the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016 into law. The bill, known as the PIPES Act, reauthorizes the federal government to move swiftly in the event of a pipeline leak or rupture. Specifically, the Secretary of Transportation is allowed to issue emergency orders if the unthinkable happens.

The reauthorization was in response to the natural gas pipeline rupture in California where an estimated 97,000 tons of gas were released from the Aliso Canyon pipeline near Porter Ranch. The bill also includes new mandates on construction to insure the safety of future pipelines and to reduce the chances of another massive leak.

Ironically and very disturbingly, less than 24 hours after the bill was signed into law, an oil pipeline in Ventura County, California ruptured, and current estimates put the amount of oil leaked at over 29,400 gallons (down from the original estimate of over 210,000 gallons), though officials are still assessing the situation.

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