Honor the Earth denounces latest Keystone Pipeline “Spill” in North Dakota this week,
Encourages investors to divest of failing Tar Sands Oil Industry and Enbridge’s Line 3
Letter to the Editor
November 1, 2019 – Citing the alarming number of oil and gas pipeline accidents this year and last from the Canadian border to Kentucky, and a significant number of historic Enbridge spills over the past 28 years, Honor the Earthtoday denounced the latest crude oil spill near Edinburg, North Dakota, where an estimated 383,000 gallons of tar sands oil leaked from the 9-year-old Keystone pipeline owned by TC Energy into a prairie wetland. This spill follows on another major spill of 407,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota in November 2017.
Winona LaDuke, the co-founder and Executive Director of the indigenous-led environmental justice organization on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, decried the North Dakota spill, and called on investors to stop funding fossil fuel infrastructure, including the controversial Line 3 in northern Minnesota proposed by Enbridge, Inc. Enbridge is responsible for two of the largest inland oil spills in US history in Michigan and Minnesota.*
“This latest spill proves once again that new pipelines are not necessarily safer,” notes LaDuke. “Enbridge claims that building a new pipeline will be safer, but even new pipelines rupture. Safe operation of both old and new pipelines depends on Enbridge’s commitment to safe operation[. That's a lot of luck and a little too much risk for Minnesota waters.”
Due to a settlement agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Enbridge, existing Line 3 is subject to more stringent inspection and maintenance standards than required by federal law.
LaDuke adds, “Anyone who doubts whether oil pipelines like the one Enbridge is trying to foist upon First Nation tribes and the citizens of Minnesota who will be stuck with the bill if and when the tar sands oil industry declares bankruptcy, should read the 2018 Greenpeace report: Dangerous Pipelines: Enbridge's History of Spills Threatens Minnesota Waters.” She also raised a red flag about the growing divestment in fossil fuels and infrastructure projects.
“The growing fossil fuel divestment movement worldwide, especially with tar sands oil, should be a sign that the Canadian oil industry is in deeper trouble than most imagine. Investors who still consider a guaranteed return on investment, should get smarter about very real risks, especially those associated with tar sands extraction, as noted in a recent report about Exxon, investment and climate change.”
*More about the Historic Spills in Minnesota and Michigan
The largest inland oil catastrophe in U.S. history occurred near Grand Rapids, Minnesota, with a Line 3 pipeline rupture on March 3, 1991, spilling over 1.7 million gallons of oil, much of which flowed into the Prairie River, a tributary of the Mississippi. Were it not for the 18 inches of ice on top of the river, the spill could have poisoned the drinking water of millions downstream, and would likely be remembered very differently today.
That incident was very similar to the 2010 rupture of another Enbridge pipeline that spilled more than 800,000 gallons of heavy Tar Sands crude into Talmadge Creek, then the Kalamazoo River. Clean up and ongoing restoration have cost the company more than $1b dollars.
- Honor the EARTH