Ugh – more oil spill news:
- An estimated 800,000 gallons of crude oil gushed from a failed pipeline operated by a Canadian company, inundating a creek and flowing into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. The leak began on Monday, and was stopped on Tuesday. Containment and cleanup operations are underway, but so far a 16-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo has been fouled by oil. The cause of the pipline failure has not yet been reported.
- On Tuesday, a tug boat collided with an “orphaned” oil well off the Louisiana coast near Bayou St. Dennis, between Lafitte and Grand Isle, leading to a blowout of that well that is still shooting a fountain of light crude propelled by natural gas up out of the water and 100 feet into the air. The boat sheared off the wellhead and control valves on the well, located in water only about 6 feet deep. Hopefully it will be controlled and permanently plugged today.
Obviously this well had not been properly plugged with cement to prevent such an occurance. An “orphan” is a well that the operator simply (and illegally) walks away from. In this case they walked away in 2008, and the state declared the well abandoned. This well has been a ticking time bomb ever since.
And by the way, there are 27,000 abandoned wells in the Gulf of Mexico, including 3,500 wells that have been “temporarily” abandoned – some for years – without being permanently plugged.
Maybe it’s time to fix this.