So, a pipeline broke in Arkansas, spilling about 12,000 barrels of a form of heavy crude oil being piped in from Canada. I’m learning a bit about this industry by following the spill. For example, I’ve learned that there’s something called the ‘Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund‘ that was established to ensure that if there’s an accident like this, the money will be available to pay for the cleanup. The bulk of the money for this comes from a per-barrel tax that the oil industry pays on oil produced in, or imported to, the US. It seems like a nice program. One would think.
So, this pipeline spill. Turns out that what it was carrying either was from tar sands, or is very similar to that (bitumen, to be exact). Point being, despite the environmental damage being similar to crude oil (or perhaps even worse, depends on who you ask), this form of crude oil is exempt from the barrel tax designed to pay for cleanups such as the one this same oil is currently responsible for! Amazing. The Keystone XL pipeline would also fall under this exemption, despite posing no small environmental risk.
Video of the spill: