Standing Rock: Oil Pipeline Spills 176,000 Gallons Of Crude Oil 150 Miles From Protest Site [Video]

Patricia Ramirez

Just 150 miles away from the Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline protest in North Dakota, another crude oil pipeline has leaked and contaminated Ash Coulee Creek with at least 176,000 gallons of oil. The pipeline in question, the Belle Fourche Pipeline, was found to be actively leaking near the city of Belfield on December 5 by a landowner.

Belfield is just two and a half hours from Cannon Ball, the central hub of the Standing Rock protest and the disputed area of the final piece of the Dakota Access pipeline.

Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, has repeatedly ensured that the controversial pipeline is safe, but events like this recent spill underscore the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other so-called "water protesters," many of whom have been living at the Standing Rock site for months to protest the pipeline.

After the extensive pipeline leak near Standing Rock was discovered on December 5, the pipeline was immediately shut down according to True Cos. While an investigation into the leak is still ongoing, Owen says that the "sloughing" of the hill where the pipeline is buried could have caused damage that resulted in the leak that contaminated Ash Coulee Creek.

"That is our number one theory, but nothing is definitive. We have several working theories and the investigation is ongoing."

While that announcement was celebrated as a huge victory for those protesting the pipeline at Standing rock, protesters who had just been joined by thousands of U.S. military veterans, the decision is far from the end of the Standing Rock battle. Immediately following the Army Corps of Engineers' announcement, which advised Energy Transfer Partners to find a different route for their multi-billion dollar pipeline, the parent company behind the controversial DAPL said they intended to keep building as planned.

Standing Rock protesters have, thus far, indicated that leak detection equipment and remote monitors don't assuage their concerns, and are still camped out by the thousands only 150 miles from where the Ash Coulee Creek contamination was discovered on December 5.

Dozens of employees are diligently working to mitigate the damages of the December pipeline spill and clean up the 176,000 gallons of oil that burst from the pipeline. The work is slow-going given the magnitude of the spill and the weather. So far, only approximately 37,000 gallons of the oil has been recovered and removed from the environment so close to the disputed Standing Rock site, planned future home of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

[Featured Image by Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Images]