On October 29, the Calgary, Alberta-based TC Energy—corporation previously known as TransCanada—shut down operations of the pipeline after the major multinational corporation discovered that it was leaking large amounts of oil into the surrounding wetlands.
Initial reports from the company and North Dakota’s Department of Environmental Quality suggested that the leak, which spilled roughly 383,000 gallons of oil into the region, impacted about 2,500 square yards of land.
However, state environmental scientist Bill Suess now says that the leak impacted 23,232 square yards of land, or 4.8 acres—nearly 10 times the original estimate, reports CNN. The new estimate takes into account both the surface and subsurface impacts of the leak. The original estimate had only been based on visual observations of the spill.
A TC Energy spokesperson said:
“During our initial response to the incident, we immediately sectioned off a larger area (approximately 25,000 square yards) around the visibly impacted section to secure the area, provide for wildlife deterrent and air monitoring purposes.”
Following approval from the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the pipeline was returned to service on November 9. However, the cause of the spill has yet to be determined.
At the time of the leak, Indigenous Environmental Network frontline community organizer Joye Braun told CNN:
“This is exactly the kind of spill we are worried about when it comes to Keystone XL being built. It has never been if a pipeline breaks but rather when.”
In a statement at the time, Greenpeace USA senior research specialist Tim Donaghy also noted that the spill confirmed precisely what environmentalists had been warning authorities about.
“I wish I could say I was shocked, but a major spill from the Keystone pipeline is exactly what multiple experts predicted would happen.
In fact, this is the fourth significant spill from the Keystone pipeline in less than ten years of operation. History has shown us time and again that there is no safe way to transport fossil fuels, and pipelines are no exception.”
The Department of Environmental Quality claims that an estimated 8,037 barrels of oil has been recovered from the 9,120 spilled.
The October 29 leak was the third crude oil spill from the Keystone pipeline in only three years.
The Keystone Pipeline system extends 2,600 miles from the Keystone Hardisty terminal in Alberta, Canada east into Manitoba, through the Dakotas before continuing to either the Patoka Oil Terminal Hub in Illinois (Phase 1) and or south to Texas (Phase 2 & 3).
Throughout its multiple phases of construction and extension, the pipeline has faced numerous protests and legal challenges from environmental groups and indigenous land defenders as well as delays during the time of the Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
However, President Trump has energetically backed the acceleration and approval of the fourth phase of construction, known as Keystone XL.
During his first month in office, Trump signed an executive order permitting the Keystone XL project to move forward. Since then, opponents of the pipeline have accused the federal government of ignoring environmental findings and protecting the profits of oil companies rather than prioritizing clean water and wildlife.
On Monday, four top House Democrats requested in a letter that the U.S. Government Accountability Office investigate TC Energy as well as the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) which regulates it.
The letter read:
“The public has a legitimate expectation that the Keystone Pipeline System managed by TC Energy operate safely and without repeated incidents that damage the environment and threaten the public’s health and security. Yet we are faced with the third occurrence of a significant pipeline leak that has devastating impacts to both the environment and nearby communities.
The frequency and severity of these incidents on the Keystone Pipeline System raises serious questions about both the integrity management program of TC Energy and whether adequate oversight and operating conditions have been put in place by PHMSA to ensure the safe operation of this high-pressure system. This is particularly concerning as TC Energy continues to pursue additional build-out of the Keystone Pipeline System with the Keystone XL Pipeline.”
Scientists Horrified as Over 27,000 Leaking Barrels of Toxic DDT Discovered on Seafloor Near LA
Over 27,000 barrels of the toxic insecticide DDT have been found so far on the seafloor about 12 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, in what could be one of the greatest examples of industrial pollution uncovered in recent memory.
The barrels have been leaking, and researchers fear that there could be up to a few hundred thousand barrels of DDT waste in total. Over 100,000 total objects have been found in the area by researchers at the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
The barrels cover an area roughly spanning double the size of Manhattan and lie off the coast of Santa Catalina Island, which is home to dozens of endemic species that exist nowhere else in the world.
DDT waste has been linked to cancer and widespread disease among humans as well as mass die-off events in the natural world. It is likely that the vast trove of illegally dumped DDT could be linked to the widespread cancer faced by sea lions along the West Coast.
“Unfortunately, the basin offshore Los Angeles has been a dumping ground for industrial waste for several decades, beginning in the 1930s. We found an extensive debris field in the wide area survey,” said Eric Terrill, chief scientist of the expedition and director of the Marine Physical Laboratory at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said in a statement.
Los Angeles Times reports that shipping logs from a disposal company implicate Montrose Chemical Corp. of California, a company that produced DDT, in likely dumping some 2,000 barrels of DDT-laced sludge each month from 1947 to 1961 into a designated dumpsite.
Additionally, logs from other entities show that several other industrial concerns in Southern California used the basin as a dumping ground until 1972, when the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act was enacted.
Rep. Matt Gaetz’s “Wingman” Wrote Letter Admitting Both Men Paid for Sex With Teen
Joel Greenberg, the former Florida county tax collector and longtime “wingman” of embattled Rep. Matt Gaetz, admitted in a letter that both he and the disgraced GOP congressman paid for sex with a number of women – including a minor.
The confession letter was written during the waning day of the Trump presidency, long before the scandalous conduct of the Florida congressman gripped national headlines, in a bid to win a pardon from President Donald Trump, reports the Daily Beast.
In the letter, which was handwritten, Greenberg reveals that both he and Gaetz allegedly were “involved in sexual activities” with a girl who was 17 at the time.
“On more than one occasion, this individual was involved in sexual activities with several of the other girls, the congressman from Florida’s 1st Congressional District and myself,” Greenberg wrote in reference to the minor.
Continuing, he noted that various forms of payment were made to the teen to secure sexual favors.
“From time to time, gas money or gifts, rent or partial tuition payments were made to several of these girls, including the individual who was not yet 18,” Greenberg wrote.
“I did see the acts occur firsthand and Venmo transactions, Cash App or other payments were made to these girls on behalf of the Congressman.”
Greenberg alleges that the teen had deceived the pair over her age, and that he and Gaetz were under the false impression that she was 19 when they paid her for sex.
“There was no further contact with this individual until after her 18th birthday,” he claimed.
The letter was written after notorious Trump ally and “fixer” Roger Stone was asked for a pardon by Greenberg.
Gaetz, 38, has been facing an investigation over whether he paid a 17-year-old for sex and facilitated her travel, which would violate sex trafficking laws.
It is also believed that the investigation encompasses the possibility that the congressman paid a number of women recruited online for sex.
Gaetz has denied ever paying for sex or having sex with a 17-year-old, and he hasn’t yet been changed.
Video Shows Officers Stop Fellow Cop Who Was Punching Handcuffed Woman
The conviction of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd has drawn mixed reactions from law enforcement officers across the country. While many police departments and associations have responded positively, some officers have also reacted with quiet resentment – and even the fear that they, too, may one day be held accountable for excessive use of force.
This may have also been the case in an altercation caught on video where two police officers in Orange County, California, could be seen stepping in and preventing a fellow officer from continuing to punch a handcuffed woman during an arrest.
In dramatic video from Wednesday captured via mobile phone in Westminster, the handcuffed woman – Ciomara Garcia, 34 – can be seen between two officers sitting on the curb. As one officer stands up, the woman does too before an officer pushes her down to the ground. The woman then attempts to kick the officer in the crotch before the officer begins punching her.
The two other officers then quickly intervene to restrain the officer and shove him away, preventing him from further beating Garcia as neighbors reminded the police in Spanish that they are filming the arrest.
The officers were initially dispatched to the neighborhood by a call over an alleged assault with battery claiming Garcia assaulted an Asian woman who was trying to fetch her dog running loose in the street.
A witness, however, told KTTV that Garcia was walking her dog when a bicyclist approached closely, causing Garcia to fear that her dog would be harmed. An altercation between the residents soon unfolded. Five minutes later, the bicyclist returned with the officers, alleging that Garcia struck her. The witness claims no such attack occurred.
Garcia has been booked into Orange County Jail on a bench warrant, while the officer was promptly placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
One wonders whether some officers are changing tack in their relations with the community, and with the so-called “bad apples” in their own ranks, following Chauvin’s conviction on all counts for the murder of George Floyd.
Meanwhile, the three other former officers who took part in last May’s fatal arrest – Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – could face serious jail time for aiding and abetting Chauvin in the slaying of the Floyd.