To the Editor:
In response to a Phillips 66 ruptured pipeline that spilled 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the Cahokia Canal last Friday, we are shocked to hear news stations report that the river is safe at this time. The Cahokia Canal empties into the Mississippi, a source of our drinking water for St. Louis. The Cahokia Canal was already under review for excess dissolved oxygen, total nitrogen, sedimentation/siltation, major habitat alterations, and total phosphorus. Add diesel to that list.
In studies, scientists have concluded that decades-old diesel spill sites still show little plant re-growth. We understand that the Phillips 66 personnel, Coast Guard, and oil spill response organizations are assessing the shoreline and recovery efforts. The question we hope they are addressing is: did the pipeline have weak safety standards for this project, including using thinner steel for the pipe, using pipe from China, or were they pumping at higher volumes than industry standards?
We've let oil companies call the shots for too long, and now we're cleaning up their messes locally. Time after time, these companies have shown their inadequacy at preventing spills, and incompetency at spill response and clean-up. Oil is toxic for most fish and marine species. According to the National Academy of Sciences, cleanup methods can only remove a small fraction of oil spilled in marine waters.
The Mississippi River’s community includes diverse flora, fauna, and wildlife too dear to risk.
On this Earth Day we hope news sources do a full review and reporting of all the test results that the Phillips 66 personnel, Coast Guard, and oil spill response organizations are in charge of assessing.
We need to restore American self-sufficiency and make us a global leader in the clean energy economy.
Piasa Palisades Group of the Sierra Club