A crude oil pipeline in North Dakota has spilled 176,000 gallons of crude oil into a creek that sits only about a two and a half hour drive from the camp where indigenous water protectors and environmental activists are resisting construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). CNBC reports that the leak was discovered on Dec. 5.
The broken Belle Fourche Pipeline has leaked tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the Ash Coulee Creek near Belfield. A landowner was the first to discover the major spill more than a week ago, according to CNBC.
The spill, devastating in its own right, is precisely the sort of concern held by those who are fighting to protect the water in the NoDAPL effort. The DAPL would cut under Lake Oahe, which provides drinking water to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
Wendy Owen, a spokesperson for True Cos., the company that operates the Belle Fourche Pipeline, told CNBC that the leak was contained within a matter of hours after it was discovered by the landowner. Owen told the Associated Press that it is not known why electronic monitors didn't detect the leak as soon as it occurred, CNBC reports. Owen also said that the pipeline was immediately shut down to prevent further spillage.
Around 5,000 people continue to camp out to prevent construction of the DAPL after the Army Corps of Engineers said it would not allow Energy Transfer Partners the land easement they require to build the pipeline, according to CNBC. Unfortunately, president-elect Donald Trump has said he's in favor of building the DAPL.