For the second time in less than two weeks pipelines belonging to Shell have leaked oil. The most recent spill has leaked 21,000 Gallons (500 barrels) of oil near Tracy in San Joaquin County, California. This time the culprit was the company’s underground San Pablo Bay Pipeline which transports crude oil from California’s Central Valley to the San Francisco Bay Area. The spill took place on May 20th but Shell did not report the leak until the evening of Monday May 23.
Ironically, this spill took place against the backdrop of the Altamont Pass Wind Farm, one of California’s largest wind energy developments. The juxtaposition of an oil spill against a clean energy producing wind farm speaks volumes.
This is the second time that oil has spilled from this pipeline in 8 months and the second time Shell has reported a spill in less than two weeks.
On May 12, Shell spilled almost 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. In an interview with WMNF News, Scott Eustis, a coastal wetlands specialist with Gulf Restoration Network discussed the impacts of the May 12 oil spill on the corals, dolphins, whales, tuna and whale sharks.
“All this is happening while the government is considering new leasing in the Gulf. Although we know from this and many other events that there’s not enough clean-up, there’s not appropriate technologies to take care of the Gulf as a natural resource that belongs to all of us, here, and all of us in the United States. So, we’re calling for no new leasing until the government and industry can show that they can take care of our natural resources.”
Cleanup efforts at the spill site near Tracy are focused on the oil that has reached the surface. Oil is visible on a patch of land that is roughly 10,000 square feet in size. However, the majority of the leaked oil remains underground. California’s fire marshal has launched an investigation into the spill.
The company claims that, “no release [of oil] is acceptable“. However, Shell’s history of spills mirrors the experience of all oil operations. The extraction and transportation of oil is subject to spills. This is an unavoidable fact of life.
In addition to being the leading cause of climate change, oil spills contaminate soil and water with predictable regularity. In recent days there has been an oil spill at Three Oaks High School in Summerside, Prince County, Prince Edward Island.
Every year there are thousands of spills around the world. A summary of some of the fossil fuel spills in North America last year reveals just how common they are. These spills illustrate the dangers of transporting fossil fuels.
Pipelines and Oil Spills in Alberta Canada
Oil Spill in Peru is a Life Threatening Emergency for Local Indigenous People (Video)
Three of the Most Destructive Tanker Oil Spills in History
Unstoppable Oil Leak at a Tar Sands Production Site in Alberta
Infographic: 13 Oil Spills in 30 Days
Top 25 Oil Spills Over 1000 Tonnes in the Last Decade
Obama Administration Cuts Shell’s Arctic Drilling in Half
After a Failed Cover-up Shell Sub-Contractor Pleads Guilty
Greenpeace forces Lego to Dump Shell
Shell Oil Rig Runs Aground in Alaska Raising Safety Concerns
Shell’s Game with the Future of the Arctic
Another Offshore Oil Leak this Time from Shell