Saturday, July 16, 2011

Exxon in Hot Water over Montana Pipeline

Exxon has been using a pipeline to transport Athabasca bitumen without notifying state officials who thought the line was only carrying conventional or "sweet" crude.   The presence of bitumen was not initially acknowledged by the company or by federal regulators.

Bitumen contains corrosive chemicals and abrasive particles not found in conventional crude.   That means it rots out pipelines just like the one Harper wants to run across remote parts of British Columbia and load aboard supertankers that will ply the treacherous waters of northern B.C.

Exxon now admits that bitumen was in the line but not at the spot where the line ruptured.   The oil that spilled was conventional oil from Wyoming.

Snotty nosed meddlers from the Environmental Protection Agency are analyzing the spilled oil.  They're looking for benzene, a carcinogen, and hexane, a toxin that damages the human nervous system.   Montana officials said they were surprised to learn that the pipeline that is buried in the Yellowstone river is used to transport Athabasca bitumen.   You betcha.


LMA said...

There goes America's "last, best river" and another beautiful wilderness area is polluted. Meanwhile, even while U.S. activists are trying to stop the transport of Tar Sands oil, the Saskatchewan government has joined the big oil club and is handing out 15 year leases to Tar Sands developers. Everything seems to ride on Obama's decision on the Keystone XL. If the market dries up, maybe there is a chance that this poison will stay in the ground.

Anonymous said...

How much revenue will the Sask Government reap from this deal? Enough to keep the shareholders happy while making the ordinary person pay? Second, when has companies such as oil ever told the truth about what they do and when has government ever made them accountable?

LMA said...

Agreed, Anon. This is all about profits for big oil and the politicians who serve big oil, and has nothing to do with sustainable economic growth which will benefit ordinary people. As far as Exxon is concerned, wasn't enough that they were allowed to lay the pipeline in the river bed despite the pipeline safety regulators being aware of potential risks from flooding? Did they have to make the risks even greater by using parts of the pipeline for Tar Sands oil? The greed of big oil knows no bounds.

The Mound of Sound said...

How much revenue, indeed? This whole tar sands business is built on doctored books and always has been. It's viability is determined by world oil prices against the cost of production which is perverted by subsidies that almost never enter into the equation. Water today is more valuable than oil. Some say it is the new oil, in a commodity sense. Yet tar sands production viability is dependent on the abundant supply of free water. Put a realistic price on that water and the tar sands become borderline economically unviable.

Then there are the tailing ponds. Add a front-loaded and realistic price for that environmental nightmare and, again, tar sands production becomes utterly unviable.

Then add a realistic carbon tax and you sink tar sands viability down to the bedrock.

But federal and provincial politicians kick these very real environmental costs down the road to future generations so that they can extract a "revenue stream" today. It's a vile, outrageous betrayal of Canada and our people.