A Houston-based mostly company is buying easements to build an oil pipeline from Ten Mile Terminal in Mobile to the Chevron Oil Refinery in Pascagoula, and a portion of their planned route runs proper by way of the watershed draining into Huge Creek Lake, Cell’s drinking water supply.
The high-capability, 24-inch pipeline shall be capable of transferring a hundred and fifty,000 barrels of oil per day, in response to Alabama Public Service by product in petroleum refining Fee information. Early last yr, the PSC accredited a request from Plains Southcap for a “Certificate of Industrial Development” for a right of manner in Cell County.
To put the size of the pipeline in perspective, the Macondo blowout attributable to the explosion of Deepwater Horizon gushed oil at lower than half that flow rate. When oil is coursing via Plains Southcap’s forty five-mile-long pipeline at most capability, a rupture would result in a spill of 6,250 barrels in one hour.
That could be 262,500 gallons of oil on land sloping toward Large Creek Lake.
Charles Hyland, director of the Cellular Space Water and Sewer Service, mentioned the water system has asked Plains Southcap to search out one other route that doesn’t go through Big Creek Lake’s watershed. In the meantime, MAWSS has employed engineering agency KBR (previously Kellogg, Brown & Root) to assess the chance posed by the pipeline, and Plains Southcap has agreed to pay the cost of that research.
“We take any menace to our watershed extraordinarily significantly,” Hyland mentioned. “And we want to make sure we’ve got all the related data so the board could make an knowledgeable determination.”
Plains Southcap did not return cellphone calls made Wednesday and Thursday by the Press-Register/AL.com in search of comment. In line with a story we printed last year, oil bound for the pipeline first will be extracted from Canadian tar sands, processed in Canada to remove the heavy contaminants, then shipped to Cell in railroad tanker vehicles.
David Underhill, conservation chair of the Cell Bay Sierra Membership, discovered the proximity of the pipeline to Large Creek Lake whereas examining Plains Southcap’s application to the PSC. He brought it to mild earlier this week at a Sierra Club assembly that was open to the general public.
In approving the application final yr, the PSC found the venture to “be in furtherance of industrial development within the state of Alabama.” Of their order, the PSC exults concerning the $45 million value of the pipeline, which includes construction of two vast oil storage tanks at Ten Mile Terminal.
However once the tanks and pipelines have been constructed, few jobs shall be related to the largely automated course of. Whether it is built as deliberate, the principally buried pipeline will come inside about three,000 ft of the easternmost finger of Large Creek Lake, and must cross Hamilton Creek, which empties into the lake. Before reaching the Chevron refinery it may also should cross the Escatawpa River basin.
Plains Southcap is a subsidiary of Plains All America Pipe Company headquartered in Houston. One other Plains All America subsidiary, Plains Midstream Canada, has had two notable pipeline failures in the past few years. The largest occurred April 29, 2011, when a pipe burst near Little Buffalo in Alberta and 28,000 barrels of oil spilled before the move was shut down. Plains Midstream Canada was reprimanded for operational failures by Alberta’s Vitality Useful resource Conservation Board. They’ve additionally been charged with three counts of violating environmental safety legal guidelines in reference to the spill.
Is the Alabama Public Service Fee doing us a public service by approving projects like this one? Surely the PSC members should have noted the risk to the supply of drinking water for many of Cell County.