Two Tar Sands Spills Last Week: Minnesota, Arkansas

There have been two tar sands oil spills in the last week since  the Senate voted in favor of building the Keystone tar sands pipeline. 

Just after being charged $1.7 million for spilling 63,000 gallons of tar sands oil in the Yellowstone River in 2011, another ExxonMobil pipeline ruptured on Friday, spewing over 80,000 gallons of sludge bitumen in Arkansas. 22 homes have been evacuated. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Pegasus Pipeline spill is a "major spill." The pipeline runs 858 miles from Patoka, Illinois to Nederland, Texas. 

Exxon says it has thus far removed 189,000 gallons of oil and water from the site and is prepared to clean up more than twice that amount. A press release says it’s "staging a response for over 10,000 barrels [420,000 gallons] to be conservative."

Earlier in the week, a train transporting tar sands oil derailed and spilled 30,000 gallons in Minnesota. It was on its way from Alberta, Canada to Chicago.

"Only about 1,000 gallons has been recovered from the frozen ground. The remaining oil on the ground has thickened into a heavy tar-like consistency, Dan Olson of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency told the Tar Sands Blockade. But because of frozen conditions, the oil hasn’t spread.

Also last week, Enbridge agreed to dredge three areas of Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, because after three years, oil continues to leach. The total cost for that ruptured pipeline will exceed $1 billion.

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