Ohio Ranks 8th Nationally in Oil Spills

One of Ohios cleaner ties to oil.
  • One of Ohio's cleaner ties to oil.

Far from the gulf, far from deep sea oil wells, Ohio still suffers plenty of oil spills. Bet you didn't know that, did you?

Enough natural gas leaks, enough faulty equipment fails, enough injuries are incurred that Ohio ranks 8th nationally for oil spill incidents according to a National Wildlife Federation report.

Federal regulators have recorded 27 spills from fuel pipelines here totaling more than 323,000 gallons from 2000 through 2009. The state's 74 natural gas and fuel pipeline incidents rank eighth nationally, according to a National Wildlife Federation report that was released yesterday.

They include six deaths, 12 injuries and $36.5 million in damage.

It's nowhere near the scale of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, or the more than 1million gallons estimated to have spilled from a pipeline into Michigan's Kalamazoo River this week. But despite industry claims that the oil spill in the Gulf is unique, environmentalists say leaks, explosions and other incidents are too common.

It doesn't sound intuitive until you consider just how much oil and gas Ohio uses. Turns out Ohioans churn through gas like Jimmy Dimora churns through milkshakes.

The Dispatch reports:

Terry Fleming, executive director of the Ohio Petroleum Council, which represents pipeline operators, said pipelines remain the safest, most efficient way to move fuel, replacing thousands of tank trucks.

Coming in eighth in pipeline incidents isn't bad, he said, when you consider that Ohio is a major transportation hub with four oil refineries.

"We sell more gasoline in Ohio than all but five states," he said. "We have 11 million people and 5,000 service stations. We sell more diesel than all but two states.

"So you're going to have more pipelines, more terminals, more service stations than you have in Montana."

More than 3,732 miles of pipeline carrying "hazardous liquid," mostly fuel, crisscross Ohio, according to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. There are an additional 10,194 miles of major natural gas transmission lines.

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Vince Grzegorek

Vince Grzegorek has been with Scene since 2007 and editor-in-chief since 2012. He previously worked at Discount Drug Mart and Texas Roadhouse.
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