The big pipeline gusher today in California that sent between 10,000 and 50,000 gallons of crude oil into a Los Angeles suburb occurred at a pump station run by Plains Pipeline LP, a unit of Plains All American. Plains All American, you will recall, is the company that with Valero Oil that hopes to run an underground pipeline through the middle of Arkansas to connect a terminal in Cushing, Okla., with Valero’s refinery in Memphis, Tenn.
A 20-inch above ground pipeline burst shortly after 1 a.m. this morning in an industrial area. According to a report by Los Angeles Times, which put the amount of oil spilled at 10,000 gallons, the oil spilled into the nearby Gentlemen’s Club and trapped parked 10 vehicles. Reuters, which estimated the spill at around 500 barrels, or 20,000 gallons, quoted a firefighter as saying that the oil was “knee-high in some areas.” Other news outlets estimated the spill at 50,000 gallons.
The terminal serves refineries for Valero and other oil companies. The Diamond Project LLC is the name of the Arkansas pipeline project, which will lay 424 miles of 20-inch pipeline at a cost of $800 million. The LIttle Rock district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is reviewing the project to determine impact. As it stands now, the planned route of the pipeline would take it through the Rex Hancock Black Swamp Wildlife Management Area, a tupelo-cypress swamp named for the Stuttgart dentist who led the fight against the channelization of the Cache River. If there were a spill there, it would truly be a black — and ruined — swamp.