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Big Oil has History of Big Oil Spills, Including in North Dakota

July 30, 2010

BISMARCK, N. D. - The National Wildlife Federation has looked back over the last decade and, in a new report, has documented hundreds of deaths, spills, explosions and habitat destruction caused by accidents in the oil and gas industry.

One of the incidents occurred in January of this year, when the same company whose pipeline burst this week while dumping oil into the Kalamazoo River was cited by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for a 126,000-gallon oil leak near Neche, North Dakota. It is just one example of many, according to report author Tim Warman.

"We have trouble with every step of the use of petroleum products. Generally, the public doesn't hear about these outside of their local area until you have a big disaster."

Although the industry talks about spill prevention plans and better safety procedures, Warman says the research reveals it is not delivering.

"The report, I think, tells a real important story. It's a story that the petroleum industry is inadequately regulated, and they do not take full responsibility for the problems that they cause."

One recommendation has been to lift the liability cap on companies. Independent oil and gas producers are lobbying against a Congressional proposal to do that, saying it would drive them out of business.

From leaks to fires to tanker truck accidents, the report lists petroleum-related incidents in every state in the country. The report, "Assault on America: A Litany of Petroleum Company Destruction," can be viewed at

Dick Layman, Public News Service - ND