Two States Declare State of Emergency After Gas Pipeline Leaks 250,000 Gallons
As Native Americans protesters face in North Dakota for blocking the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a gasoline pipeline spill is currently unfolding in the South. The leak has prompted Alabama Gov. and to declare states of emergency.
The Colonial Pipeline, which , began leaking on September 9, spilling 250,000 gallons of gasoline, or . The pipeline was built in 1962, and the current leak in Helena, Alabama, is the largest one Colonial Pipeline has experienced in 20 years, .
that according to the Colonial Pipeline company’s spokesperson, Bill Berry, the pipeline could still be leaking:
Hundreds of employees and contract workers as they work overtime to clean up the spill, which the company says is contained to a mining retention pond. reports “ ”
Fortunately, the company is taking a variety of steps to mitigate potential damage.
Local conservationists say Colonial is doing its part to provide a swift and safe cleanup. The company is working with the and to “minimize environmental impact.” As ,“ ”
“” Butler said. “ .”
Butler believes that “ . Even so, a thunderstorm is in Helena on Sunday, increasing the risk that it could cause the spilled gasoline to spread into other water sources.,”
Some residents are confident the situation is being handled, but Billy McDanal, who lives 2.3 miles from the leak, concerns over the weather forecast:
“,” he said. “ .”
Though the stated location of the leak at the inactive mine site was convenient — and the company’s response has been satisfactory — the leak itself still raises concerns about the safety of energy pipelines in the United States. The Colonial Pipeline company it has kept the line’s infrastructure up-to-date in a variety of ways:
In spite of these upgrades, however, the leak still occurred, calling into question the effectiveness of such measures. Similarly, though proponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline it is safe, lapses like the one in Helena raise concerns, especially considering the Dakota pipeline is intended to carry crude oil, which can severe long-term damage to ecosystems. Though the infrastructure of the Dakota pipeline would admittedly be new — and leaks usually occur in older equipment — ruptures are in newer pipelines.
In the meantime, the governors of both Georgia and Alabama have states of emergency, not due to environmental concerns, but that will result from the leak. After Colonial Pipeline Thursday there would be a delay in restarting the pipeline because “ ,” the price of gasoline futures six percent.
Whether or not the spill will cause environmental damage remains to be seen, but as aging and inadequate infrastructure results in leakages of , , and across the country, one thing is clear: Americans may want to consider curbing their appetite for potentially harmful sources of energy.