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Oil and gas industry continues dismal environmental record with thousands of spills

Amy Mall

Posted July 8, 2013 in Health and the Environment

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In 2011 I blogged about a CBS News investigation that found that spills from the oil and gas industry in 2010 were at least  three times the amount of the Exxon Valdez spill, and that there were at least 6,500 spills, leaks, fires or explosions nationwide in 2010, or an average of 18 per day. 

The American Petroleum Institute, a trade association for the oil and gas industry, states that "The members of the American Petroleum Institute are dedicated to continuous efforts to improve the compatibility of our operations with the environment while economically developing energy resources and supplying high quality products and services to consumers."

Yet today, a new report on spills, from EnergyWire, found that there were "more than 6,000 spills and other mishaps reported at onshore oil and gas sites in 2012" -- an average of more than 16 spills a day. This is an important story, following on others that focus on spills in Colorado, Wyoming, and North Dakota. The EnergyWire report highlights the impacts on human health and agriculture.

An industry with more than 6,000 problematic incidents per year has a long way to go before it can say it is fulfilling its pledge to "improve the compatibility of our operations with the environment." EnergyWire created a great map of the spills by state here.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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