A North Dakota farmer who discovered an enormous oil spill while harvesting wheat says crude was bubbling up out of the ground when he found it.
Steve Jensen said he smelled the crude for days before the tires on his combines were coated in it. At the apparent break in the Tesoro Corp.’s underground pipeline, the oil was “spewing and bubbling six inches high,” he said Thursday.
What Jensen had found on Sept. 29 turned out it was one of the largest spills recorded in the state. At 20,600 barrels it was four times the size of a pipeline rupture in late March that forced the evacuation of more than 20 homes in Arkansas.
But it was 12 days after Jensen reported the spill before state officials told the public what had happened, raising questions about how North Dakota, which is in the midst of an oil boom, reports such incidents.
The spill happened in a remote area in the northwest corner of the state. The nearest home is a about a kilometre away, and Tesoro says no water sources were contaminated, no wildlife was hurt and no one was injured.
The release of oil has been stopped, state environment geologist Kris Roberts said Thursday. And the spill, which spread out over three hectares, has been contained….
- Massive oil pipeline break under N.D. farmer’s wheat field (cbsnews.com)
- North Dakota Pipeline Spills Over 20,000 Barrels Of Crude Oil (thinkprogress.org)
- Wheat farmer discovers oil spill the size of seven football fields (billingsgazette.com)