Statement: Alabama Riverkeepers respond to latest Colonial Pipeline disaster in Alabama

Photo from Alabama EMA twitter feed
Photo from Alabama EMA twitter feed

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Four local Riverkeeper organizations in North-Central Alabama have issued a statement this afternoon concerning the latest Colonial Pipeline disaster in Shelby County.  

Yesterday, Governor Robert Bentley declared  a state of emergency as a result of the pipeline disaster.

 Here is the Riverkeeper’s  joint statement:

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA — Alabama Riverkeepers completed a preliminary investigation of waterways surrounding the site of the latest Colonial pipeline accident near Helena, Alabama. Thanks to the rapid response of first responders, the Cahaba River and its tributaries were protected from gasoline spill impacts. This is the sixth incident in Alabama involving the Colonial pipeline in 2016.

The Cahaba Riverkeeper, Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Coosa Riverkeeper, and Hurricane Creekkeeper, all members of Waterkeeper Alliance, issued this joint statement today.

On six separate occasions this year, Alabama rivers narrowly escaped polluting oil and gas spills from the Colonial pipeline. The latest incident on Halloween had a fatality, serious injuries, and a massive fire that burned for hours. If it had occurred in other locations along the pipeline route that are much more populated or closer to rivers, there could have been much worse consequences. We have every reason to believe that this old pipeline may have other deficiencies such as deterioration, cracks, and leaks. It is time for spills, leaks, and accidents from the Colonial pipeline to end in Alabama. We cannot afford to continue playing Russian Roulette with lives and our drinking water. We call on Colonial pipeline and the regulators who are supposed to ensure the safe operation of pipelines to do a systematic review of the pipeline’s integrity and publicly release their maintenance and system upgrade plan.

Alabama Waterkeepers will continue to monitor the Colonial pipeline to ensure the company starts operating their system safely and without any more spills or accidents.

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.