Old Oil Pipelines Are Putting Your Rivers and Clean Water At Risk

Since 1986, pipeline oil spills have caused more than 55 deaths, 2,500 injuries, and more than $7.7 billion in damages.

Kalamzoo river oil spill

July 2015 marks the five year anniversary of when a ruptured pipeline owned by Enbridge spewed over a million gallons of crude oil into Michigan's Kalamazoo River.

In May 2015, a ruptured pipeline from Plains All-American Pipeline, a Houston-based company, dumped over 105,000 gallons of crude oil into the waterways in Santa Barbara, California - more than 21,000 gallons into the local waterways. This is next to the site of the third largest oil spill in US history, which happened in 1969.

In 2014, a rupture in the Bridger Pipeline company's Poplar Pipeline dumped an estimated 50,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River in eastern Montana, contaminating drinking water supplies for local residents and harming the river's fish and wildlife. This is the second major pipeline spill in the Yellowstone River in less than four years.

These are just the latest in a string of pipeline failures that have put our rivers and clean water at risk.

We Need Better Pipeline Regulations to Protect Our Clean Water

Sign the petition telling the Pipeline Safety Administration to strengthen standards for oil pipelines and better protect our clean water.


Acting Administrator Timothy Butters
U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration

Dear Mr. Butters:

Catastrophic incidents keep occurring because oil pipelines are exposed by the scouring force of rivers. Under your agency’s rules, hazardous materials pipelines need only be buried four feet under riverbeds at the 18,000 places across American where pipelines cross under rivers. Clearly this is woefully inadequate as demonstrated by the two recent spills on the Yellowstone River. A river of the Yellowstone’s force can easily scour five times that depth in a single flood event. As someone who treasures our nation’s rivers and the vital role they play in providing drinking water for people, recreation, irrigation, and industry, I urge you to direct your agency to overhaul its rules pertaining to pipeline-river crossings in order to prevent future accidents from happening. For as we’ve seen, once oil is spilled into waterways, it is virtually impossible to clean up.