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Minnesota oil spill: 12,000 gallons of oil leaked, cleanup not settled upon yet

Photo of an oil train on the tracks
Photo of an oil train on the tracks
Facebook, EcoWatch

A Minnesota oil spill has recently resulted in over 12,000 gallons of oil being leaked between Red Wing and neighboring Winona. At this time, the matter of cleanup has not been settled upon due to a majority of the oil spilling along the track bed and rails, posing little public threat. The Canada Journal confirms this Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, that a valve issue or cap breakage is believed to be the cause behind the Canadian Pacific rail car losing such a massive amount of oil before crews became aware of the leak.

The Minnesota oil spill was officially reported by authorities at 11:41 a.m. this Monday. Local crews discovered the big leak after realizing that one of the full oil tankers had lost almost half of its contents, which normally can hold 26,000 gallons of liquid. A spokeswoman for the MPCA has confirmed at this time that no serious cleanup plans are in store due to the oil splatter staying near to the site, though they are continuing to monitor the situation.

“It’s like spray-painted oil,” she noted.

Because a full 12,000 gallons of oil were leaked, MPCA officials spent most of Tuesday investigating the local area — including land banks and river crossings — for any potential environmental damage that the oil spill might have caused. In accordance with Minnesota state law, any fuel loss amounting to over 5 gallons must immediately be reported with the Department of Public Safety.

“An MPCA spokesperson also stated that no formal fines or citations will be issued until an investigation is completed or cleanup is required.”

As cited in the press release regarding the recent Minnesota oil spill, information retrieved from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Adminstration has revealed that over 1.15 million gallons of crude oil was lost in train leaks or accidents this 2013 here in the U.S. Due to the environmental damage and public safety hazards that the crude oil can cause, in-depth examinations of all serious spills must be taken. Major cleanups are also provided if the situation warrants it.

“The spilling of crude oil is a significant offense that requires a careful investigation of all the facts surrounding the incident,” said Emmie Paulos, an attorney with the Levin, Papantonio law firm who is involved in the BP oil spill litigation. “There are federal environmental laws in place to protect the public and environment, any violation of these laws could result in prosecution of the culpable party.”

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