According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, these spills and ruptures released over 7 million gallons of crude. Individual leaks ranged from a few gallons to hundreds of thousands of gallons. One of the largest spills happened in North Dakota in 2013 when lightning struck a pipeline, which leaked over 840,000 gallons of crude onto a wheat field.
Oil and Gas Pipelines
Nearly half of America’s crude oil pipelines are more than 50 years old, increasing the chance of corrosion and failure. Human error and failure of operators to act on potential vulnerabilities in their pipelines also contribute to accidents. So do natural phenomena like lightning and earthquakes.
Moreover, only 139 federal pipeline inspectors are responsible for examining over 2.6 million miles of pipelines. That’s nearly 18,000 miles of pipeline per inspector – clearly not enough to ensure the integrity of our nation’s aging pipeline infrastructure.