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Rachel Maddow Discusses North Dakota Oil Spill

On Friday, Rachel Maddow reported on the 20,000+ barrel Tesoro oil pipline spill near Tioga, North Dakota, and the controversial delay in response time (11 days) before the public was notified. Kris Roberts, who is leading the North Dakota Health Department’s work with Tesoro on the cleanup, said the state saw no need to publicize the spill immediately because the site was remote. “It’s on top of a low hill, in the middle of a wheat field, in an area with no residents at all,” said Roberts. “The public has a right to know. But do I have a responsibility to run out and tell the public every time there’s a spill that isn’t going to threaten them or the environment, and that the company is aggressively cleaning up?”

The spill was discovered by North Dakota farmer Steven Jensen, who felt “wet, squishy earth” underneath him, and got out of his combine to find oil-covered wheels, and oil bubbling up six inches off the ground in spots. That’s seven football fields worth of his forever-oil-tarnished land pictured above (photo courtesy Greenpeace). 

Then came news that in North Dakota — home to an enormous boom in oil extraction where 2,470 miles of new pipeline were laid just last year— over 750 pipeline spills have gone unreported to the public in just the past two years.

“Right now, you don’t know if there is a spill unless you find it yourself,” remarked another North Dakota farmer, Louis Kuster. 

Watch as Rachel interviews Don Morrison, executive director of the Dakota Resource Council, a group of 700 conservation-minded landowners in North Dakota.

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