Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What happened and why it matters. A lot.

"What happened was this: On the second of July, at the height of its runoff, the Yellowstone River scoured out a 12-inch crude oil pipeline that had been trenched beneath the river bottom.

The pressure of the water ruptured the pipe, sending a gush of oil downriver.

By the time somebody at ExxonMobil noticed the leak, an hour later, 42,000 gallons of oil had been carried downstream with the flooding waters."

The rest of Kevin Canty's elegant, heart-wrenching article.


Katt said...

I feel a desperate need to say something. But I have no idea where to find the words for this.

Scooter Carlyle said...

I live just downstream from the breach. It really put a burr under my saddle. When I read the following in the July 15 edition of Time, I wasn't sure whether to growl or laugh.

"42,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Yellowstone River after a pipeline burst in Montana; rising water levels complicated the cleanup in the national park."

Apparently, someone at Time thinks that oil spread upstream. There were a lot of geographically confused reporters from other papers, too.

Scooter Carlyle said...

Katt, don't panic just yet. This was bad, but nothing like the Gulf. Everything is looking pretty normal, for the most part, except for those who had flooded fields near the pipeline.

It's just one more thing in a crazy year, and the land is very vigorous. It always recovers, usually just in time for it to get smacked by something else. Though an oil spill isn't a natural part of the boom-bust cycle, fire, drought, and flooding are all good things in the long run.

Realize I say this with a flooded basement. Flooding: good for the land, bad for the quilting supplies.

Brenna said...

I, a Billings, Montana native, was just as shocked and surprised by the oil spill as anyone else. Canty, a former teacher of mine, did a wonderful job of explaining what it was like as a Montanan. However, I know that we will recover. I just wish Exxon had taken a better initiative with it.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

As a teenager I spent parts of two summers in Wyoming and Montana. The majesty of what I saw there, and what I experienced on the high plains and at the base of the Rockies changed my life forever. I am a New Englander, and I love where I live, but my heart will forever beat for Wyoming and Montana.
Shame on anyone who throws acid in the face of such a beautiful model; may they all sip crude in their martini glasses.

LTM said...

I'm glad our national news people are on this one! ... wait.

Marsha Sigman said...

I feel physically ill at the thought of this. Is there anything we can do to help?

Robin Ruinsky said...

The only thing that surprises me is people being surprised. This will become more and more common with aging pipelines tended to by oil companies who only care about squeezing the last dollar from the ground. One of the things lost in the stories about the rig in the Gulf were the deaths of eleven workers. BP was warned about the rig.
Surprised? No. They simply do not care.