Buffalo Pipeline Leaks 19,000 Gallons of Crude Oil on Farmland in Oklahoma
The Buffalo Pipeline, owned by Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline, L.P., leaked approximately 450 barrels, or roughly 18,900 gallons, of crude oil onto farmland in Kingfisher County, Oklahoma last week.
Wheat farmer and cattle rancher Steve Pope told local TV station KFOR that he has lost an estimated 120 acres of pasture and wheat crop from the spill.
The National Response Center on Sunday listed "internal corrosion" of the pipeline as the likely cause of the discharge.
Plains All American Pipeline released a statement about the spill:
"On Friday, April 21, 2017, Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. experienced a crude oil release on our Buffalo Pipeline, near Loyal, Okla. We are following our emergency response plan, and our staff is working with regulators and affected landowners. Our current priorities are to ensure the safety of all involved and limit the environmental impact of the release.
The oil spill happened less than 1,000 feet from the nearby Cooper Creek, which feeds into the Cimarron River, but the spill was contained on Pope's fields. Cleanup is underway at the site of the leak.
Pope expressed concerns about the damage from the spill as well as President Trump's proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), now led by former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
"What bothers me is we keep seeing the EPA being cut so much," Pope told KFOR.
"A lot of the regulations that have been put on the oil companies are there for a reason. Sure, there are probably some that are over-regulated but, without those regulations, I wonder if I would have had as quick of a response for guys to come out here and start cleaning this up."
Plains All American Pipeline is one of the largest energy companies in the country with an extensive energy infrastructure in the United States and Canada. The company says it handles an average of 4.6 million barrels per day of crude oil and natural gas liquids in its transportation segment.
But the company has had a long history of pipeline issues, KFOR pointed out. Citing data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the oil company was behind more than 25 pipeline incidents in the state of Oklahoma since 2006, with 14 incidents listing corrosion as a cause and six due to material, welding or equipment failures.
Al Jazeera detailed the company's extensive history safety and environmental violations in other states, including its citation for 10 oil spills that violated the Clean Water Act in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Kansas.
Last year, Plains was also indicted for a major May 2015 spill that spewed 140,000 gallons of crude oil near Santa Barbara, California that fouled miles of shoreline and killed hundreds of seabirds and marine animals.