Posts Tagged ‘oil spill’

Over the course of a little more than a week, here in the United States, over 222,775 gallons of oil have been spilled onto our land and into our water. A week.

Most of the narrative around oil condemns it for the amount of carbon dioxide it puts into the atmosphere, and its profound implications for climate change. Over the course of one week this month, four different oil spills have helped demonstrate why responsible citizens should stand against oil. While all the spills have tremendous consequences, each of the following cases reveals a unique threat that transporting this toxic substance has for our families and our environment.

2014 Mid Valley Oil Spill in Michigan Nature Preserve - Photo from Huffington Post.jpg

Mid Valley Oil Spill in Michigan Nature Preserve
Photo from Huffington Post

On March 17, just 20 miles north of Cincinnati, an oil leak was discovered when a motorist smelled something funny in the air and called the police. What was discovered was tragic – over 20,000 gallons of oil had leaked into the 374 acre Glen Oak Nature Preserve. It is still unclear when the leak started – without this concerned citizen, it is likely the spill would’ve gone on for days before anyone noticed.

The oil had come from a 5 inch crack in the Mid-Valley pipeline, which runs over 1,000 miles from Michigan to Texas. Despite the fact that the company that maintains the pipeline is unsure of the leak’s cause, less than a week after it was discovered, an impromptu clamp had been designed, approved by the federal government, installed and oil is once more flowing in the pipeline.

2014 North Dakota Oil Spil in a Wheat Farm  Photo from GREENPEACE

North Dakota Oil Spil in a Wheat Farm

A few days later, on March 20, a gasket on a portion of above-ground pipeline in Alexander, North Dakota malfunctioned and spewed 34,000 gallons of crude oil onto the ground. While it appears that no water has been contaminated, North Dakota’s water quality director has warned that if a heavy spring rain comes, the oil could very well leach into nearby waterways.

2014-03-23 A dead oil covered bird is shown on the shore area along Boddeker Rd. on the Eastern end of Galveston near the ship channel.  Photo by Melissa Phillip, AP

A dead oil covered bird is shown on Eastern end of Galveston near the ship channel.
Photo by Melissa Phillip, AP

Two days after the North Dakota leak, an oil carrier collided with a barge, spilling 168,000 gallons of oil into Galveston Bay, Texas. While it was fortunate that not all of the oil in the carrier escaped into the water, the timing of the spill couldn’t be worse as peak bird migration season approaches. When oil is in the water, these water-diving birds often die from ingesting the oil. What’s worse is that the oil spilled is a particularly heavy type of oil, meaning that, unlike gasoline spills, which can largely evaporate off the surface of the water, this oil will sink to the bottom of the Bay and can adversely affect the environment for years to come.

2014 Crews Clean Oil from Lake Michigan After Spill from BP Refinery

Crews Clean Oil from Lake Michigan After Spill from BP Refinery

Finally, On March 25, eight days after the first oil spill in Ohio, a BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana spilled 755 gallons of oil into Lake Michigan. While this spill is relatively minor in comparison to the other spills, Lake Michigan serves as the drinking water source for Chicago and its suburbs – over 7 million people. Ingesting any oil at all is toxic, and the potential effects on humans are huge.

With so many other sensational stories dominating the airtime these days, it’s no wonder that many citizens are not aware that all of these spills happened. But note that in all these cases, until something bad happened, everything was running exactly as designed. The system with which we regulate and handle this toxic substance is broken, and the penalty for accidents is paid in permanent environmental damage, contaminated water, and human health.

It is crucial to remember as debates about oil rage on that oil is not just bad when burned – the processes to extract, transport and refine oil are toxic and dangerous on a global level and to local and regional communities.

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Boom surrounds the Exxon Valdez at its new temporary home just off Naked Island April 7, 1989. The ship is undergoing preliminary repairs there. Photo by Erik Hill, Anchorage Daily News

Boom surrounded the Exxon Valdez as underwent preliminary repairs at its temporary home just off Naked Island, April 7, 1989.
Photo by Erik Hill, Anchorage Daily News

Twenty-five years ago today the Exxon-Valdez oil tanker ran aground on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, causing the worst oil spill in the United States at the time. The 987-foot tanker spilled an estimated 11 million gallons, or more, of toxic crude oil into the water, which ultimately smeared over 1,300 miles of shoreline. Today, oil can still be found on the rocky beaches and some wildlife populations have not fully recovered.

Exxon Valdez oil spill workers use pressure washers to wash oil from the beach on Smith Island, Prince William Sound. The oil was impounded in the water off of the beach and skimmed from the water. Photo by Bob Hallinen, Anchorage Daily News

Exxon Valdez oil spill workers used pressure washers to wash oil from the beach on Smith Island, Prince William Sound. The oil was impounded in the water off of the beach and skimmed from the water.
Photo by Bob Hallinen, Anchorage Daily News

Oil Persists
If you were to go to the beaches on Prince William Sound today, you could still find patches of oil underneath rocks and in the sand. The reason that oil continues to persist in the area is because Prince William Sound is what ecologists refer to as a closed ecological system, meaning that there is not much of a tide change and big, crashing waves do not break up the oil. Scientists that have examined this oil have been surprised to find that it has “most of the same chemical compounds as oil sampled 11 days after the initial spill.” Marine ecologist Gail Irvine says that when the oil spilled from the tanker, it mixed with seawater and formed into a goopy compound.

“When oil forms into the foam, the outside is weathering, but the inside isn’t,” Irvine explains. “It’s like mayonnaise left out on the counter. The surface will crust over, but the inside of the clump still looks like mayonnaise.”

As late as 2009 there were still more than 21,000 gallons of oil remaining from the Exxon-Valdez spill, some of which has been detected as far as 450 miles from the site of the spill. Although cleanup efforts came to a halt in 1994, oil from the Exxon-Valdez spill will remain in the environment for decades to come.

Wildlife Impacted
During the first year of the oil spill, The World Wildlife Fund estimated that 250,000 seabirds, 4,000 sea otters, 250 bald eagles and more than 20 orca whales died, making the 1989 Exxon-Valdez oil spill one of the most ecologically destructive spills. While most of the animal populations have bounced back in the two-and-a-half decades since the spill, some wildlife populations have not recovered.

The Pacific herring population crashed after the spill, and is now listed as “not recovering.”  The silvery fish is a staple food for species such as salmon, seabirds, sea otters and whales.

Other species that have struggled to bounce back to pre-oil spill levels include sea otters, pigeon guillemots, killer whales and orca whales.

A Reminder in Texas
Just two days before the 25th Anniversary of the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, “an extremely serious spill” occurred in Galveston Bay. As much as 168,000 gallons of heavy oil spilled when a barge and a ship collided near the Texas City dike on Saturday afternoon. Crews have been frantically working to clean up the spill in order to minimize lasting impacts on Galveston Bay, which is an ecologically sensitive area. Migratory birds are expected to be flying through the bay over the next month, which puts them and scores of other species at grave risk.

The type of fuel that spilled into Galveston Bay is a marine fuel oil known as RMG 380, which is sticky, black and heavy. This means that unlike gasoline, which evaporates from the surface of the water, much of this oil will sink and mix into the sediment, resulting in subsurface tarballs or tarmats which may persist in the environment for months or years to come.

These tragedies highlight the importance of ending our dependence on fossil fuels. The negative impacts will be with us long after the benefits have been left behind.

These tragedy highlights the importance of ending our dependence on fossil fuels. The negative impacts will be with us long after the benefits have been left behind.

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This is a guest submission by Riki Ott, PhD. Dr. Ott is a marine toxicologist, author, and former commercial fisher. She was one of the first people on the scene during the Exxon Valdez oil spill, when millions of gallons of crude oil were discharged into the pristine waters of Prince William Sound, Alaska. For 23 years, she has been the voice and face of efforts for justice.

She is the featured character in the award-winning film BLACK WAVE: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez, a documentary that tells the tale of the battle between commercial fishers against the largest corporation in the world, Exxon-Mobil.

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In oil disaster after oil disaster, industry has repeatedly hidden the truth from federal agencies and the public about spill volume and extent of damages, including wildlife kills, ecosystem harm, and harm to worker and public health. This underreporting is done to minimize the spiller’s liability – often billions of dollars are at stake. If the oil industry is not held accountable for these costs, the costs are externalized and borne by the environment, local economies and businesses that depend on a healthy environment, individuals and families who suffer health consequences, and U.S. taxpayers.

Riki Ott, PhD is asking the press to pose critical questions rather than regurgitate industry press releases. The public depends on the press in order to be well informed and make important decisions. It is essential for the media to search for deeper explanations and more accurate information during incidents that threaten human health, wildlife, and the environment––and future energy choices.

Dr. Ott is offering this guide, based on her on-the-ground first-hand experience with the nation’s largest oil tanker spill (Exxon Valdez, 1989), offshore oil rig disaster (BP Deepwater Horizon, 2010), and on-land pipeline tar sands spill (Enbridge, 2010).

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Exxon says the leak was discovered on Friday afternoon. What are residents saying? People living nearby should have known immediately from the fumes when the leak occurred or once it spilled above ground. In the case of the Enbridge tar sands oil spill in the Kalamazoo River (July 2010), residents reported smelling and seeing oil two days prior to the date Enbridge claimed the spill occurred.

Media is reporting a crude oil or sour crude spill. This oil is sour (containing high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide) but more importantly, it is heavy bitumen crude – tar sands oil (sour by nature) that has been diluted with lighter petroleum distillates and other very toxic chemicals.1 These chemicals are often labeled proprietary due to their toxic nature.

“Tar sands oil” is a political red flag, so the industry also calls it “nonconventional oil,” “heavy bitumen crude,” “dilbit” (diluted bitumen), and more recently, “sour oil,” and “sour crude”. Don’t fall for it. What spilled is the essentially the same stuff that Enbridge spilled in Michigan (July 2010) and that would be coming down the Keystone XL: tar sands oil (bitumen crude oil) with diluents, or dilbit.

Common symptoms of exposure to conventional crude oil spills are well known and established within the medical community and include respiratory problems, central nervous system dysfunction, blood disorders, and skin problems.2 Unfortunately, a body only has so many ways to say it’s ill and the symptoms for chemical illnesses mimic those for colds/flu, asthma, bronchitis, COPD, bad headaches, vertigo, dizziness, tingling feet and hands, fatigue, general malaise, immune suppression (sick all the time), bad looking skin rashes like MRSA, peeling palms and soles of feet (for people walking barefoot), ear and nose bleeds (gushers), bleeding hemorrhoids, and more.3

Tar sands oil is concentrated with heavy hydrocarbons, known as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) or more commonly as ultrafine particles. Exposure to PAHs can cause the health issues listed above (and also listed as compensable injury on BP medical benefits settlement4)––and similar injury in wildlife.5

The diluents are industrial solvents, containing petroleum distillates and other toxic chemicals that that target and harm the same organs of the body as PAHs/oil––the respiratory system, central nervous system, skin, and blood. This means the body takes a double hit of toxic chemicals. Diluents contain chemicals that are teratogens (disturb development of or kill babies in the womb), carcinogens, mutagens, systemic poisons, and cause hemolysis (rupture of blood cells). Some people are more vulnerable than others to dilbit, especially children6, pregnant women, elderly, African Americans, and those with pre-existing illnesses.7 Diluents are industrial solvents and degreasers, like dispersants, that act as an oil delivery mechanism, pulling oil into the body. The emerging science from the BP Gulf disaster is finding that chemically-dispersed oil is more toxic than oil alone to wildlife and humans.

Since tar sands oil is concentrated with PAHs and VOCs/diluents, dilbit is far more toxic to humans and animals (wild and domestic) than conventional oil. The oil industry (and government) are trying to downplay the human health risks of exposure to tar sands and/or dilbit because this is extremely politically inconvenient information. It nonetheless is extremely dangerous.

No. Residents and the city are being misinformed about health risks. A recent statement released by Exxon said, “The air quality does not likely present a human health risk, with the exception of the high pooling areas, where clean-up crews are working with safety equipment.”

This is simply not true. Oil and petroleum distillates (ingredient of both dispersants and diluents) wrecked havoc with wildlife and people in the aftermath of the BP disaster8 and the Exxon Valdez disaster.9 Similarly, tar sands oil and diluents made people sick in Michigan,10 where residents of one trailer court and neighborhood along the oiled riverbank blame exposure to tar sands oil and fumes for illness outbreaks including eighteen deaths––and counting.11 Oil and diluents can cause short- and long-term harm to health if people are not forewarned (educated about chemical illnesses, exposure, symptoms, and treatment) and given protection.

Dilbit has a mandatory 1,000-foot evacuation zone. Was it uniformly enforced? In Michigan, people in richer areas were evacuated while people in poorer areas were either not evacuated or were forced to relocate when the city condemned public housing units.12 Enbridge housed workers in some of the homes it purchased, raising health concerns. If the home wasn’t safe for the original occupants, why was it safe for the workers? Unprotected workers and the general public are at risk of exposure and chemical illness. Children, elderly, pregnant women, people with pre-existing illnesses, and African Americans, in particular, and domestic animals should have been evacuated immediately.

The local department of health should issue Public Health Advisories, warning residents of the signs and symptoms of exposure, such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, nose bleeds, and cold- and flu-like symptoms, among others. Occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) doctors should be on hand to diagnose and treat illnesses that family doctors are not trained to recognize. These specialty physicians should NOT be provided by the industry; the city should hire them and ask industry for reimbursement. People should be given baseline health exams before returning to homes they evacuated; their homes should be tested for air quality. Wood and fabric, for example, absorb oily fumes and will off-gas over time. The industry should pay if homes, furniture, clothes, carpet, toys, etc., need to be replaced.

Photos from KTHV in Little Rock, AR, show backhoe operators and others with absolutely no protective gear at all. Compare what the cleanup crews are wearing with what EPA and other federal responders were wearing, especially during the early response. During the Michigan response, EPA crews wore respirators and Hazmat gear. Hazmat crews with protective equipment and workers or the general public without similar protection in the same area is a sign of trouble for unprotected persons – and disingenuous PR statements. In Prince William Sound, Alaska, Alyeska’s SERVS workers are trained, provided with, and required to wear personal protective equipment, including respirators, during oil spill response.

Photos from KTHV in Little Rock, AR, show dilbut bubbling down into storm sewers. City wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to process and remove even small amounts of oil. Individuals are fined hefty amounts for releasing even a quart of oil into sewers. Tar sands oil is thick, sticky goo and the diluents are extremely toxic chemicals. ExxonMobil needs to detail how it plans to help municipalities clean out the sewers and the wastewater treatment system––without contaminating the city’s water supply. If it is too late to avoid contamination of the city’s water supply, how will industry provide safe water for city residents?

Yes. Period. No debate. Bitumen blends are more acidic, thick, and sulfuric than conventional crude oil. DilBit contains 15–20 times higher acid concentrations and 5–10 times as much sulfur as conventional crudes. The additional sulfur and high concentrations of chloride salts cause corrosion that weakens and ages pipelines, especially when dilbit is pumped under high temperature and pressure. Tar sands crude oil also contains high quantities of abrasive quartz sand particles, much more than used by liquid sandblasters. (Keystone XL pipeline maximum capacity would mean over 125 pounds of quartz sand and alumino-silicates per minute. Common sandblasters use between 1.5 and 47 pounds of sand per minute.) Conventional crude oil does not contain quartz sand particles. Dilbit is also up to 70 times more viscous than conventional crude.13

Not surprisingly, tar sands pipeline spills occur more frequently than spills from pipelines carrying conventional crude oil because of diluted bitumen’s toxic, corrosive, and heavy composition. Between 2007 and 2010, pipelines transporting diluted bitumen in the northern Midwest spilled three times more oil per mile than the national average for conventional crude oil. Between 2002 to 2010, internal corrosion caused over 16 times as many pipeline spills per 10,000 miles in Alberta, Canada, where pipelines transport mostly dilbit, than in the US, where pipelines transport mostly conventional crude oil. Finally, in its first year, the U.S. section of Keystone 1, carrying diluted tar sands oil, had a spill frequency 100 times greater than the TransCanada forecast. In June 2011, federal pipeline safety regulators determined Keystone 1 was a hazard to public safety and issued TransCanada a corrective action order.14

The oil industry is aware of the higher risk of spills from transporting dilbit and the higher cost of spill response, based on the Enbridge tar sands spill in Michigan. To minimize liability, industry lobbyists successfully argued that dilbit was not conventional oil and therefore exempt from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund. Oil shippers pay into this fund, which is then used by the federal government for spill response. Now the shippers most likely to spill oil, those shipping diluted tar sands oil, do not pay into the fund. But the fund is still tapped for spill response. If the fund goes bankrupt, U.S. taxpayers would foot the bill––on top of the annual $375 million subsidy for saving the oil and gas industry from paying into the fund in the first place.15

The government and industry are pushing the press away from these scenes with claims of safety concerns. Really? Are the media crews different from the workers or residents? The media could obtain and wear the same safety gear worn by the federal responders, if this is truly government’s concern. The BP Gulf disaster set horrible precedent for media access16––and the media acquiesced instead of insisting upon, and fully exercising, their First Amendment rights. THE MEDIA IS NOT GETTING THE FULL STORY IF THEY ARE DENIED ACCESS TO THE SPILL SITE––and neither are the American people.

  • The ExxonMobil tar sands oil spill is very inconvenient for government, Congress, and industry. The U.S. State Department is taking public comment for the Keystone XL Pipeline until April 22. There will be a huge push by industry and the government to shut down the true risks and costs of transporting tar sands oil as inconvenient truths. It is the media’s job to accurately research and portray these risks to the public. In-depth research and reporting on the ExxonMobil tar sands spill in Arkansas would be a good start.

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1 Lisa Song, A Dilbit Primer: How It’s Different from Conventional Oil, June 26, 2012, http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120626/dilbit-primer-diluted-bitumen-conventional-oil-tar-sands-Alberta-Kalamazoo-Keystone-XL-Enbridge

2 Barry Levy and William Nassetta, The Adverse Health Effects of Oil Spills, Intern. J. of Occupational Health and Environ. Medicine, 17(2):161– Apr/Jun, 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21618948

3 See: series of Huffington Post blogs documenting emerging public health epidemic of chemical illnesses across the oil-impacted Gulf Coast at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/riki-ott/; See also: on-line version of Sound Truth and Corporate Myths at: www.rikiott.com under reading for medical professionals.

4 BP-Plaintiffs Medical Benefits Class Action Settlement Agreement, Exhibit 8: Specified Physical Conditions Matrix, Table 1: Acute SPECIFIED PHYSICAL CONDITIONS, and Table 3: Chronic SPECIFIED PHYSICAL CONDITIONS. http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/OilSpill/4.pdf

5 Charles Peterson, Stanley Rice, Jeffrey Short, Daniel Esler, James Bodkin, Brenda Ballachey, and David Irons, “Long-term Ecosystem Responses to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill,” 2003; 302:2082–2086. See also Riki Ott, Sound Truth and Corporate Myths: The Legacy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (Dragonfly Sisters Press, Cordova, AK: 2004), available at: www.rikiott.com

6 http://globalaccessmedia.org/consequence-oil-part/

7 Sciencecorps, 2010, Gulf Oil Spill Health Hazards. http://www.sciencecorps.org/Gulf_Spill_Chemical_Hazards_Report.pdf

8 Dahr Jamail, “Gulf seafood deformities alarm scientists,” Aljazeera English, April 20, 2012, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2012/04/201241682318260912.html; BP blamed for ongoing health problems,


9 Kim Murphy, LA Times, November 5, 2001. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EVOS/message/33

10 Martha Stanbury et al., Acute Health Effects of the Enbridge Oil Spill, Lansing, MI: Michigan Department of Community Health, November 2010, http://www.michigan.gov/documents/ mdch/enbridge_oil_spill_epi_report_with_cover_11_22_10_339101_7.pdf; Dahr Jamail, “Pipeline of ‘poison’,” Aljazeera English, Oct. 17, 2011. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/10/2011101151776808.html

11 Michelle BorlandSmith, Jackson, MI, pers. communication.

12 Michelle BorlandSmith, Jackson, MI, pers. communication.

13 NRDC et al., Tar Sands Pipeline Safety Risks, June 2011, on p. 6, http://www.nrdc.org/energy/files/tarsandssafetyrisks.pdf

14 Cornell University Global Labor Institute, The Impact of Tar Sands Pipeline Spills on Employment and the Economy, March 2012, http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/globallaborinstitute/research/upload/GLI_Impact-of-Tar-Sands-Pipeline-Spills.pdf

15 Erin O’Sullivan, “Toxic and tax exempt,” Oil Change International, April 2, 2013, http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/how_tar_sands_spills_from_michigan_to_arkansas_cost_us_all/; Oil Change International et al., “Irrational exemption: Tar sands pipeline subsidies and why they must end,” May 14, 2012, http://ecowatch.com/2012/tar-sands-industry-remains-exempt-from-spill-liability-fund/ and http://priceofoil.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Irrational-exemption_FINAL_14May12.pdf

16 http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/07/media_boaters_could_face_crimi.html

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During the final public meeting on the BP oil spill disaster, the Oil Spill Commission indicated that it would recommend reforms to address the current regime of lax safety and environmental regulations, future oil spill response, and Gulf Coast restoration. Not surprisingly, one theme surfaced that cuts across all of these areas – the need for increased local engagement and strong citizen oversight of Gulf oil and gas activities.

To that end, the Oil Spill Commission is considering recommending Gulf Coast Citizens’ Advisory Councils – an opportunity for local communities to have a role in protecting their environment and securing their livelihoods.
You can tell the Oil SPill Commission to include the creation of Gulf Coast Citizens’ Advisory Councils in their final recommendations by going to our petition site here.  Can you help make tragedies like the BP oil spill a thing of the past by making sure citizen participation is how we do things in the future?  By making sure that we are the watchdogs, we can insure that the watchdogs over our safety do not become the lapdogs of industry.

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Wolrd Oceans Day logo - because oceans should be clean not full of oil from BP spills in the Gulf of MexicoWorld Oceans Day has been celebrated unofficially since 1992, and officially since December 2008 when the UN formally recognized it. Organized by The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network, this holiday celebrates our oceans which bring us clean air, clean food, and clean water- that is, until April 20. The explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig has, if you choose to believe the ‘official government estimate’, leaked somewhere between 12,000 and 19,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico each day. And scientists fear we will be living with the effects of this disaster for decades.

According to MSNBC.com, Bill Mott, the director of the Ocean Project said, “it’s terrible disaster and it’s raising awareness around the country and the world about the ocean’s fragility to a large extent.”

If you want to show our oceans a little more love than they have received over the past few months, here are some ideas:

Stop by the Smithsonian Ocean Portal to learn About 5 Simple Things You Can Do For The Ocean.

Visit Change.org for Ten Ways To Honor World Oceans Day.

Find events near you organized by the World Ocean Project.

ALSO:  Several groups are gathering for makeshift vigils tonight around the country to celebrate World Oceans Day and mark the 50th Day since the Deepwater Horizon explosion that began this catastrophe.  The vigil in Austin will be at 1005 Congress Ave, just a block or so south of the Texas Capitol.


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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What is happening? Black blood continues to ooze, pump, and explode into the Gulf. B.P., the Coast Guard, and the U.S. military are powerless to stop its wave of utter, incomprehensible destruction. Bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill. 100,000 or 200,000 or 500,000 gallons a day for going-on three weeks; an amount we will never be able to imagine. Canyons of crude death. Generations of flora, fauna, and ecosystems erased. Gone. For good.

And everybody shrugs their shoulders and talks about the costs. Everybody asks, “what was the cause?”

Does it take an engineer to explain why sucking the marrow out of the earth is a deadly process?

Now, today, a tanker truck exploded at a San Antonio refinery loading dock. Firefighters are struggling to control the blaze, spending most of their efforts to prevent the fire from spreading to the jet fuel and diesel storage facilities. Fire Chief Charles Hood does not sound optimistic.

The coal mine explosion in West Virginia. The coal carrier crash at the Great Barrier Reef. The burst pipeline in the Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge. The BP platform explosion and leak – the most devastating fossil fuel catastrophe in decades, perhaps ever. The TVA Kingston slurry damn failure just over a year ago in Tennessee (one of the worst disasters in history). The dozens of other “minor” accidents involving the harvesting of coal, oil, and natural gas.  And, now, today, here in Texas, the latest explosion in humanity’s mad pursuit of 19th century fuel.

What does it all mean? Why do these things keep happening? What are YOU going to do about it?


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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