Traces of oil found in Montana town's water supply after spill
Calamur, Krishnadev. "Traces of Oil Found in Montana Town's Water Supply after Spill." MPR News. Minnesota Public Radio, 20 Jan. 2015. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.
This article is a news report on the oil spill that occurred on Saturday, January 17th near Glendive, Montana. A pipeline owned by Bridger Pipeline Co. of Wyoming leaked on Saturday, spilling about 50,000 gallons of oil along the Yellowstone River. Tests by officials in the area have shown that unusually high levels of benzene, a carcinogenic compound, are present in the water supply that provides for around 6,000 people, and bottled drinking water is currently being shipped to Glendive. Bridger Co. reports that it has no timeline to reopen the pipeline. This is the second spill involving the Yellowstone River; the first was the ExxonMobil spill in July 2011, which deposited 63,000 gallons of oil into the river.
Several ethical issues are involved in this incident: whether the pipeline company should take responsibility for making sure that the parties involved—both human and non-human—receive the least damage possible from the accident; what should be done to clean up the spill and who should do it; whether the pipeline should be opened again or not; and what effects the spill will have in the future, among many other issues. Questions come up, therefore, about sustainability, sufficiency and compassion, and even participation. Will the continued use—and possible failures—of pipelines to transport crude oil around the country be sustainable for future generations, or will it result in the eventual destruction of habitats? How will the pipeline company deal with the individuals—both human and other animal—who are not receiving their basic needs, i.e. clean water and even a clean habitat in which to live? Though monetary stakeholders in the pipeline company and the individuals who are not receiving clean drinking water are represented in this issue, what about the animals, and even nature, who are not getting a voice in the matter, and how will they be given a voice?
I think that the pipeline company should be held fully accountable for the incident. Oil companies take too long to take action in situations like this, as was seen in the ExxonMobil spill nearly four years ago. By the time action is taken, it is too late and hundreds of thousands of living things have been killed, either directly or indirectly, by the spill, and the natural environments of these creatures are forever altered and often rendered barren and lifeless. The blood of these acts should be on the pipeline company's hands. But we do also need to take into consideration the practical aspect of the situation. America is utterly dependent on oil and it therefore must be transported in some manner. Therefore, do you think we should continue to use pipelines and allow future generations to bear the consequences when they fail and until they fail, or should we look for a more environmentally-friendly way to transport oil around the country—or should we work towards eliminating the nation's dependence on oil altogether? Why and/or how?