Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Shell Pipeline Leaks 20,000 Gallons of Oil in California's Central Valley

Energy
Shell Pipeline Leaks 20,000 Gallons of Oil in California's Central Valley

For the second time in two weeks, Shell has spilled thousands of gallons of oil, this time in California’s Central Valley.

Less than two weeks after dumping nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Shell Oil is at it again. The company’s San Pablo Bay Pipeline, which transports crude oil from California’s Central Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area, leaked an estimated 21,000 gallons into the soil near in San Joaquin County this week.

In the foreground, hazardous materials responders work to clean up oil from Shell's spill near Tracy, California. In the background, containers of the oil-contaminated soil sit among wind turbines. Photo credit: Noah Berger / Greenpeace

Responders are on the scene to clear oil that’s reached the surface, which county officials say covered roughly 10,000 square feet of land. As of today, Shell representatives claim the pipeline has been repaired, but have not resumed operations.

Local government officials and Shell responders are investigating the cause of the leak and currently report that no oil has entered drinking water sources or populated areas.

Responders work to repair sections of the broken pipeline. Photo credit: Noah Berger / Greenpeace

While two large oil spills in two weeks may seem like a pretty epic failure—particularly for a company that just said "no release [of oil] is acceptable"—in reality this is what business as usual looks like for an industry built on polluting our environment and driving climate disaster.

In fact, this same pipeline sprung a leak just eight months ago in almost the same location, spilling roughly the same amount of oil into the ground.

Adding irony to injury, the spill occurred on the site of one the state’s largest wind energy developments, the Altamont Pass Wind Farm. Wind energy, it should be clarified, does not release toxic chemicals into the soil or contribute to runaway climate change. Perhaps Shell responders on the scene will take note.

Containers of oil-contaminated soil sit among wind turbines at the Altamont Pass Wind Farm near the site of the spill. Photo credit: Noah Berger / Greenpeace

Interestingly, Shell officials decided to wait three days before releasing a statement to the public about the spill—after shareholders convened at the company’s Annual General Meeting in The Hague, Netherlands. The spill was first detected early Friday morning, but not publicly reported until Monday evening Pacific time.

Environmental watchdog groups are still monitoring the impacts of Shell’s spill in the Gulf, some pointing to the oil industry’s history of under-reporting the extent and impact of spills as reason to stay vigilant.

Hazardous materials responders were on the scene of an oil pipeline rupture along the Alameda County-San Joaquin County border near Tracy, California cleaning up a spill reported to be as much as 21,000 gallons. Photo credit: Noah Berger / Greenpeace

What’s increasingly clear is that companies like Shell aren’t going to stop polluting in pursuit of fossil fuels we can’t afford to burn on their own—we’re going to have to rise up to stop them.

History shows us that the more fossil fuel infrastructure we have (and we have a lot in this country) the more spills like this we’ll see. So let’s not build more—business as usual for the fossil fuel industry cannot continue.

Help put an end to leaks, spills and fossil fuel pollution while fighting for the climate at the same time. Tell President Obama to end all new offshore drilling today.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Granddaughter of Exxon Scientist Confronts CEO Over Funding Climate Denial

Protesters Blockade Planned Pipeline Site Near Nuclear Plant Outside NYC

Shell Oil Spill Dumps Nearly 90,000 Gallons of Crude Into Gulf

Exxon Board Rejects All Nine Climate Resolutions at Annual Meeting

Plastic bails, left, and aluminum bails, right, are photographed at the Green Waste material recovery facility on Thursday, March 28, 2019, in San Jose, California. Aric Crabb / Digital First Media / Bay Area News via Getty Images

By Courtney Lindwall

Coined in the 1970s, the classic Earth Day mantra "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" has encouraged consumers to take stock of the materials they buy, use, and often quickly pitch — all in the name of curbing pollution and saving the earth's resources. Most of us listened, or lord knows we tried. We've carried totes and refused straws and dutifully rinsed yogurt cartons before placing them in the appropriately marked bins. And yet, nearly half a century later, the United States still produces more than 35 million tons of plastic annually, and sends more and more of it into our oceans, lakes, soils, and bodies.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Rise and Resist activist group marched together to demand climate and racial justice. Steve Sanchez / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Alexandria Villaseñor

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My journey to becoming an activist began in late 2018. During a trip to California to visit family, the Camp Fire broke out. At the time, it was the most devastating and destructive wildfire in California history. Thousands of acres and structures burned, and many lives were lost. Since then, California's wildfires have accelerated: This past year, we saw the first-ever "gigafire," and by the end of 2020, more than four million acres had burned.

Read More Show Less
Trending
U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a pair of climate-related secretarial orders on Friday, April 16. U.S. Department of the Interior

By Jessica Corbett

As the Biden administration reviews the U.S. government's federal fossil fuels program and faces pressure to block any new dirty energy development, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland won praise from environmentalists on Friday for issuing a pair of climate-related secretarial orders.

Read More Show Less
David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less