By james macpherson, associated press
Though crews have been working around the clock to deal with the Tesoro Corp. pipeline break, which happened in a wheat field in September 2013, less than a third of the 840,000 gallons that spilled has been recovered — or ever will be, North Dakota Health Department environmental scientist Bill Suess said.
A farmer, Steve Jenkins, who’d smelled the crude oil for days, discovered the spill in his northwestern North Dakota field near Tioga — his combines’ tires were covered in it.
While the nearest home was a half-mile away and the state said no water sources were contaminated and no wildlife hurt, one of the largest onshore oil spills recorded in the U.S. serves for some as a cautionary example, especially given a recent pipeline break about 150 miles south and ongoing debates over the four-state Dakota Access pipeline.
“What happened to us happened and we can’t go back,” said Patty Jensen, Steve’s wife. This month’s pipeline break in Belfield, which belched an estimated 176,000 gallons of oil into a creek that feeds into the Little Missouri River, a tributary of the Missouri River, really rankled her.
“But I get really upset when I hear of a new one and I wonder what is being done to prevent these spills,” she said.