In this week’s new update, local governments can no longer ban fracking in Texas, and a 4-mile stretch of shoreline in California is impacted by an oil spill.
A pipeline that ruptured near Santa Barbara on May 19 leaked an estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil, according to Coast Guard authorities. Some of the crude flowed into the ocean and left a thick coat of black tar along the shore.
The rupture was located along an 11-mile underground pipe that’s part of a larger transport network bound for Kern County, California. The leak was reported around noon and Coast Guard crews stopped it by 3 p.m.
After flowing from the pipeline, crude pooled in a culvert before spilling into the Pacific Ocean where it created a 4-mile-long sheen extending about 50 yards into the water. Officials say winds could send the oil another 4 miles south toward Isla Vista.
The pipeline, owned by Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline, was built in 1991 and is designed to carry about 150,000 barrels of oil per day.
Federal, state and local authorities are at the scene investigating the leak and coordinating cleanup efforts, said a spokeswoman for the California Office of Spill Prevention and Response.
North Dakota Commission Approves Two Pipeline Projects
The North Dakota Public Service Commission approved two pipeline projects on April 18 after the company involved assured officials that leak detection would be enhanced.
Meadowlark Midstream told state officials that it would improve leak detection in its transport systems following a large saltwater spill near Williston in February. The commissioners gave the OK to a 46-mile crude oil pipeline in Divide and Burke counties as well as the conversion and extension of an existing 10-mile pipeline in Williams County.
The 46-mile pipeline would carry crude produced in the Fortuna area to the Basin Transload Facility outside Columbus. The line is capable of carrying 25,000 barrels per day and could eventually haul 50,000 per day.
The smaller project in Williams County will add 4 miles of new pipeline to an existing line, which will transport crude from a station in Epping to the Little Muddy Creek Station.
Local Governments Can’t Stop Fracking in Texas Anymore
Cities and towns in Texas are now prohibited from banning fracking and other activities that produce oil and natural gas after officials signed a law into place May 15.
Similar bills are being considered in other states, including Colorado, Ohio, Oklahoma and New Mexico. The law was backed by oil and gas interests.
The law was drafted after voters in Denton, Texas, banned fracking locally in late 2014. Two of the most productive U.S. shale oil fields are located in north Texas near Denton.
In 2013, the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court overturned a measure similar to the new Texas law. New York state banned fracking in December, while Maryland lawmakers passed a veto-proof 2 1/2 year moratorium in April.