The largest diesel fuel spill since 2010 leaked 140,000 gallons of fuel in Iowa at a bad time for Donald Trump. He just signed an executive order commanding the Army Corps of Engineers to halt an environmental impact study of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Trump wants to run a pipeline under a North Dakota reservoir, but this Iowa leak is a disaster.
The spill spewed from an underground pipeline and covered an acre of grass and farmland as vacuum trucks started a cleanup of the hazardous fuel. This time the leak was on land, but a break of this magnitude under a reservoir or river would be catastrophic.
Iowa Department of Natural Resources spokesman Jeff Vansteeburg said that the diesel cannot reach any waterway, but high winds and blowing snow hampered cleanup efforts, the AP reported:
‘Although we expect to begin pipeline repairs later today, we do not have an estimate when pipeline operations will resume on the affected segment of our system. We do not expect this incident to disrupt supply of gasoline, diesel and other refined petroleum products in the region.’
Tulsa, Oklahoma-headquartered Magellan Midstream Partners owns the pipeline. According to the AP, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported the Magellan spill as:
‘The sixth largest refined petroleum spill reported by companies to the U.S. Department of Transportation this decade and the largest diesel spill since January 2010, according to the department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration records.’
Magellan owns almost 11,000 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines. The company has reported 218 spills, which have resulted in over $48 million in property damage in the past 11 years. Those spills totaled more than “832,000 gallons of petroleum products.”
As a result, the oil company faced over 40 cases of pipeline safety violations. Magellan ended up paying a relatively small $1.4 million in penalties.
Pipeline critic and director of Bold Iowa Ed Fallon organized a coalition fighting the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipeline project. He says that the leak is to be expected:
‘We’ve been saying all along it’s not a question of if a pipeline will leak, it’s a question of when and where and how bad it will be.’
Check out this video about what happens after oil spills: