Homes evacuated after 1,200 barrels of crude spills in rural Texas

Families were forced to leave their homes after an estimated 1,200 barrels of crude oil spilled from a pipeline rupture in Bastrop County, TX, on Thursday, July 13.

Local news media reported that an excavator accidentally cut the Magellan’s Longhorn pipeline shortly before 9 a.m. CST while working on a section of the pipe.

The company, Magellan Midstream Partners, said in a release that no water resources were reportedly affected by the spill, which leaked an estimated 50,400 gallons of crude oil.

Emergency responders ordered a 1.6 kilometre area evacuated around the spill. The evacuation order was lifted at 4:30 p.m. the same day. Magellan representatives said they would reimburse any residents that experienced extra costs during the evacuation.

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The spill highlights the risks posed to homeowners, landowners, farmers and businesses along the New Brunswick route of TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline. Landowners and farmers along pipeline routes are typically left with restricted access to their land and questions over insurance, responsibility, and liability in case of an incident.

TransCanada has said it will bury pipes 3-4 feet below ground in agricultural land. The New Brunswick chapter of the Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowners Association says pipelines should be buried at least five feet below ground over farmland, and six feet below ground for woodlots, to avoid disruption from equipment and regular land use.

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