On the morning of May 21st a 45-year-old oil well near Labyrinth Canyon of the Green River burst and gushed 80 to 100 barrels of oil per hour for more than 30 hours on May 21st and 22nd, potentially totaling over 100,000 gallons of crude oil.
Although the BLM claimed the spill was “contained” May 21st, thunderstorms on the night of May 22nd breached inadequate containment structures, sending perhaps thousands of gallons of oil into the Green River, which is critical habitat for four endangered fish species. The oil spill is the 3rd to occur in the last 3 months amid Utah’s oil and gas boom that is increasingly threatening the watersheds of millions.
Read the BLM’s press release falsely claiming the spill was contained here:http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/info/newsroom/2014/may/blm_acts_quickly_to.html
Although BLM and EPA officials admitted it is impossible to quantify the amount of oil that entered the river, they stated the quantity was likely only a few gallons. This claim was called into question when an eyewitness’s photo revealed a large oil slick 30 miles downstream from the incident site.
Endangered razorback suckers are currently spawning at the confluence of the San Rafael and Green Rivers, just downstream of where the oil spill entered the river. Their recently hatched larvae remain suspended in river currents until they reach critical nursery habitat downstream and are vulnerable to impacts like contamination from toxic chemicals.
Watch KSL’s coverage of the spill here: http://www.ksl.com/?sid=30081832&nid=148&title=rain-drives-oil-from-leak-into-green-river
Oil visible 30 miles downstream from spill. Photo Credit: Jim Collar.