The Associated Press has a nice primer on the recently discovered rupture of the Belle Fourche pipeline in North Dakota. Among other details, the article compares the Belle Fourche to the Dakota Access pipeline, which has been the target of protest at Standing Rock and elsewhere.
- Blake Nicholson and James MacPherson, “North Dakota oil spill raises questions about safety,” Associated Press, December 14, 2016.
The Belle Fourche is a 6-inch steel “gathering” pipeline built in the 1980s to transport oil to collection points, where it then “moves into larger pipelines or railroad tankers destined for refineries across the U.S.”
The Dakota Access is a 30-inch steel “transmission” pipeline that will carry 20 million gallons of oil daily some 1,200 miles to a shipping point in Illinois.
Debate over the Dakota Access project has centered on pipeline safety, especially risks to water supplies. Advocates argue that pipelines are safer than other transportation options, such as truck or rail.