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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Until we start valuing water more than we value oil, this is going to happen."

The cancer-causing chemical benzene has been detected in the drinking water supply of a Montana town after a pipeline ruptured on Saturday, sending up to 50,000 gallons of Bakken shale crude oil into the partially-frozen Yellowstone River. The second Yellowstone River pipeline spill in less than four years, the environmental disaster has raised alarm among nearby residents, some of whom say they can smell oil in the air, according to a statement from the Northern Plains Resource Council. Dena Hoff, whose land borders the River and is crossed by the breached pipeline, told Common Dreams by phone, "The nasty truth is that pipelines leak and pipelines break. "It is a disaster for everyone and everybody downstream. Until we start valuing water more than we value oil, this is going to happen."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling for residents of Glendive, Montana, which has a population near 5,000 people, to avoid any ingestion of municipal water, because it has shown "an elevated level of volatile organic compounds, predominantly benzene," according to the municipality. According to the CDC, "Long-term exposure to high levels of benzene in the air can cause leukemia, cancer of the blood-forming organs." City officials are urging residents to use bottled water, which they have reportedly shipped in for public distribution. The warning, however, comes two days after the spill took place and directly contradicts initial assurances from state officials on Sunday that there is no evidence of environmental or public health hazards.
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/01/20/cancer-causing-chemical-found-drinking-water-following-pipeline-spill-yellowstone