PBS: A Week Later, Yellowstone Spill Answers Scarce

High water that may not subside for three weeks is preventing investigators from determining what caused the 42,000-gallon oil spill that contaminated the Yellowstone River near Laurel, Montana, last week.  In his report yesterday, PBS NewsHour correspondent Tom Bearden summarized the situation and noted that “some environmentalists say this accident is exhibit-A to bolster their opposition to a much larger planned pipeline to run from Canada’s vast oil fields to Houston. That line would also cross the Yellowstone and other rivers.”

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  • Jim in Houston

    “some environmentalists say this accident is exhibit-A to bolster their opposition to a much larger planned pipeline to run from Canada’s vast oil fields to Houston. That line would also cross the Yellowstone and other rivers.”

    Of course the environmentalists would raise this issue, just as other interests rail against the US dependence on imported oil.  The proposed pipeline would carry 3 to 4 million barrels of oil each day from Canada to refineries in Houston, offsetting an equal amount of oil from the Middle East, Venezuela, and other less dependable sources.  With 88 existing pipelines crossing Montana Rivers operated by various companies, citing this single incident under extreme flow conditions in the Yellowstone as a reason to abandon the Canadian line plan is grasping at straws.  Further, the Exxon Mobil line will be rebuilt to newer, more stringent standards, and these would also apply to any new line.

    As a point of interest, the Chinese are exploring building a pipeline to the West Coast of Canada to export this same oil to China.