Sometimes the news just makes you shake your head.
You probably remember Bridger Pipeline, LLC. They’re the company that operates the Poplar Pipeline. That’s the one that ruptured last January, sending 40,000 gallons of Bakken crude into the Yellowstone River, tainting Glendive’s water supply. We reported at the time that the company also operated the Parshall Gathering System, which gathers oil from over 250 wells in North Dakota’s Mountrail County for delivery elsewhere. That system leaked over 5,000 gallons of crude just north of Stanley.
So when the North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) needed a company to build a new pipeline, a “key piece of infrastructure” that will stretch 15 miles across Billings and Stark Counties, one that will transport 125,000 barrels per day and connect to an existing pipeline leading to Baker, Montana, who do you think they chose?
You know the answer. Bridger Pipeline LLC.
According to PSC Chairwoman Julie Fedorchak, “We had a really thorough discussion about how they plan to operate this and monitor it and the latest and greatest technology they’ll be using, the newest pipe materials and monitoring systems, and I felt comfortable that the company … walked away with some good lessons learned on that (Poplar Pipeline) spill and will be incorporating that in this line.”
Fedorchak said the PSC examined a 10-year leak history from the company, and a control center in Casper that will monitor the new pipeline around the clock.
She said that while the Yellowstone River spill was “a really unfortunate incident,” that pipeline was 60 years old and was trenched under the river. The new $10.4 million pipeline will be bored 30 feet under the intermittent Heart River using horizontal directional drilling.
That explains everything.
Folks, the time has come for local regulation of oil and gas drilling. Local communities need to look out for themselves, because it’s clear that state agencies aren’t looking out for them.