Utah Pipeline Accident Coats Hundreds of Birds in Crude Oil
Over the weekend, a Chevron pipeline in Utah leaked an estimated 33,000 gallons of crude oil. The oil flowed into multiple waterways and riparian areas. As a result, as many as 300 birds were coated in black oil. A fish species that was already in deep trouble may have been affected as well.
News reports say that residents reported a strong oil smell in the area and were told to avoid oil-contaminated waterways.
Fortunately, the flowing oil is said to have stopped short of Utah’s Great Salt Lake, which is tremendously important habitat for migrating birds.
The significance? Oil pipelines do have accidents. Water can be contaminated. Wildlife can be adversely affected.
It can also take a while before the oil company knows about the leak. In this case, the company knew about the leak on Saturday but it appears to have started on Friday. Chevron is apparently disputing when it learned about the leak – this news story is not reassuring.