The Belle Fourche Pipeline leaked as much as 1,000 gallons of oil into a tributary of the Little Missouri
The six-inch line leaked into the Ash Coulee Creek, which connects to the Little Missouri
The leak was discovered by a private land owner on Monday but has since spread to US Forest and Service Land
Belle Fourche Pipeline is connected to the Bridger Pipeline, which leaked 50,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River in 2015
As Energy Transfer Partners continues to defend the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, 200 miles to the west, another pipeline has leaked into Ash Coulee Creek. Ash Coulee Creek is a tributary of the Little Missouri River.
Northwest of Belfield in Billings County, a six-inch line operated by Belle Fourche Pipeline was the source of the leak discovered on Monday. The spill was initially located on private ranch land but has since moved to US Forest Service Land.
The extent of the damage
The spill is said to have traveled roughly 2.5 river miles and is now contained. At this time it appears there was no apparent impact on the Little Missouri River, but the scope of what the leak did to the Ash Coulee Creek is still unclear.
Spill Investigation Program Manager Bill Seuss told Q2 that he does not believe the leak impacted marine life, nor was the drinking water. In total, it is estimated that the leak consisted of around 1,000 barrels of oil.
North Dakota Oil and Gas Division, along with the health department, were tasked with handle the cleanup that began on Thursday. As of now, the Belle Fourche Pipeline has been shut down.
Belle Fourche Pipeline, Bridger Pipeline, and Butte Pipeline
The Belle Fourche Pipeline is ran by the same company that runs the Bridger and Butte pipelines. The company behind the pipelines appears to be True Oil LLC; a family owned business made up of several businesses in oil and gas, transportation, and agricultural industries.
Belle Fourche, Bridger and Butte pipelines are a liquids pipeline operator that gathers and transports crude oil in the Williston Basin of western North Dakota and eastern Montana, and the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.
The True Companies
The “True companies” consist of Belle Fourche Pipeline Company, Black Hills Trucking INC, Bridger Pipeline, Butte Pipeline Company, Cambria Europe INC, Eighty-Eight Oil LLC, Equitable Oil Purchasing Company, Toolpushers Supply Co., True Drilling LLC, True Oil LLC, and True Ranches LLC.
In January 2015, the Bridger Pipeline ruptured and leaked 50,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River in Montana, which then contaminated the drinking water for the nearby town of Glendive. Ice in the water added to the challenge of completing a cleanup for the area.
The spill could not have come at a worse time, as the standoff against the Dakota Access continues just 200-miles to the east. This leak, along with others around the country, gives validation to the concerns that are held by people all over the world in regards to the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline.