Company Behind DAPL Reported 69 Accidents, Polluting Rivers in 4 States in Last Two Years
The energy company behind the disputed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has reported hundreds of thousands of gallons of spills from pipelines between 2015 and 2016, according to an analysis released earlier this month.
According to the Feb. 6 report from the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and DisasterMap.net, Energy Transfer Partners and its subsidiary Sunoco have filed 69 accidents over the past two years to the National Response Center, the federal contact point for oil spills and industrial accidents.
That's 2.8 accidents every month, the analysis said, adding that "these are just the accidents that are reported."
NEW REPORT TODAY: Company that wants to build #nobayoubridge had 69 accidents in 2015 and 2016. @WWLTV @KPLC7News… https://t.co/wPHdeY5m6p— LA Bucket Brigade (@LA Bucket Brigade)1486393489.0
Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners owns about 71,000 miles of natural gas, natural gas liquids, refined products and crude oil pipelines across the country.
The report lists 42 known oil spills, 11 natural gas spills, nine gasoline spills, three propane spills, two "other" spills and two "unknown" spills. Those 69 incidents led to eight injuries, five evacuations and a total damage dollar amount of $300,000. In all, the total known amount of various substances spilled was 544,784 gallons.
"Heavy rain was the explanation for some of the worst accidents. Bad weather, however, just exposes faulty equipment," the report states. "While Energy Transfer Partners and other companies portray weather related accidents as unavoidable, they are in reality a result of poor planning and neglected maintenance. For example, the largest tank fire in history happened in south Louisiana in 2001. Because it occurred during a storm, Orion Refining blamed the weather. In truth, a faulty drain on the tank sank the roof, exposed the gasoline and attracted lightening."
Pipeline proponents have repeatedly touted that pipelines are much safer than tankers or trains. But as the report revealed, the majority of Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco's reported spills (51 percent) were specifically linked to pipelines.
Those 35 pipeline-related spills released 111,559 gallons of oil and polluted rivers in four different states, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade pointed out on its Facebook page.
Three drinking water sources—the Delaware River (Pennsylvania, New Jersey), The Schuylkill River (Pennsylvania) and the Red River (Louisiana)—were among the water bodies polluted, "thereby confirming the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe who fear the Dakota Access Pipeline would pollute the Missouri River," the report states.
But the tribe was dealt a major setback on Monday when federal judge refused to issue a temporary injunction against construction of the DAPL.
Pipeline opponents argue that the DAPL crosses sacred land and would threaten the drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation as the proposed route cuts through the Missouri River.
#DakotaAccessPipeline 'Could Be Operational Within 30 Days' https://t.co/aqDBimmsnD @IENearth @PriceofOil @joshfoxfilm @MarkRuffalo @350— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1487083639.0
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade itself is battling the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which is also Energy Transfer Partners-operated. The 162-mile pipeline would cut through "the heart of Louisiana's Cajun Country," carrying oil from Nederland, Texas, to St. James Parish, Louisiana, near New Orleans.
The planned route crosses major bodies of water and important ecological sites, including the Atchafalaya Basin, Calcasieu, Vermillion and the Mermentau Rivers, as well as Bayou Lafourche and Bayou Teche. The Vermillion River and Bayou Lafourche are sources of drinking water and the Atchafalaya Basin is the country's largest wetland and swamp, and home to several endangered species.
"Sunoco and Energy Transfer Partners accidents stretch from Texas to Massachusetts," said Dr. Ezra Boyd, a geographer with DisasterMap.net who conducted the research. "While these accidents cover a large area of the map, the Bayou Bridge pipeline would put an entirely new area at risk: south central Louisiana, including the Atchafalaya Basin."
"The oil industry and the elected officials they've bought off are claiming that pipelines are safer despite the facts," added Anne Rolfes, founding director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. "What we know is that Energy Transfer Partners had 35 pipeline accidents in two years. There's nothing safe about that."
Renate Heurich of 350 Louisiana noted there are far safer and environmentally friendly alternatives to pipelines.
"Energy Transfer Partners' records contradict their claim that pipelines are a safer way of transporting oil," Heurich said. "Pipelines make transporting tar sands cheaper, thus stimulating dirty tar sands extraction despite low oil prices. The real question is: Why do we still invest in more pipeline infrastructure when we urgently need to invest in sustainable alternative energy sources?"
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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