Spills of Diluted Bitumen from Pipelines: A Comparative Study of Environmental Fate, Effects, and Response

National Research Council
http://bit.ly/1ORXmoK

[NRDC Press Release] The National Academy of Sciences today released a study on diluted bitumen (or “dilbit”), a raw form of tar sands oil making its way across North America in increasing volumes, that supports alarm bells raised by NRDC and other advocacy groups over the last decade. The report, coming on the heels of a similar analysis from the Royal Canadian Academy of Science, makes clear that the nature of diluted bitumen substantially differs from other forms of crude oil and poses new environmental risks.

Echoing NRDC’s groundbreaking “Tar Sands Pipelines Safety Risks” report from 2011, the NAS calls for increased transparency in the movement of diluted bitumen, research on better spill remediation methods, as well as modification to regulations governing response plans, preparedness and cleanups.

Following is a statement from Anthony Swift, Canada Program Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council and lead author of the aforementioned report:

“The National Academy of Sciences is skewering the industry’s ‘oil is oil’ talking point—making it clear that diluted bitumen is a different beast altogether and needs to be treated as such.

“The agonizingly slow and costly Kalamazoo River spill cleanup in Michigan made many of these points clear. Yet, the tar sands industry has continued to insist that diluted bitumen creates no deeper environmental threat as they push for unsustainable growth. While Keystone XL is off the table, there are numerous other projects being considered that extend the unique pipeline problems of dilbit into communities across North America. These findings must inform the debate over Energy East, Alberta Clipper and other risky projects being proposed in Canada and the U.S.

“This report vindicates the tar sands campaigners across North America who have been falsely lambasted by tar sands apologists for pointing out the dangers that come with piping this bottom of the barrel petroleum.  We need to focus on increasing use of safe, clean energy, rather than deepening our dependence on the dirtiest, riskiest, sources out there.“

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