Big Tesoro Pipeline Spill in North Dakota

Major oil-by-rail backer involved in yet another accident.
This post is 6 in the series: The Northwest's Pipeline on Rails

From the same folks who want to build a gargantuan oil-by-rail facility on the Columbia River, comes this news today:

More than 20,000 barrels of crude oil have spewed out of a Tesoro Corp. oil pipeline in a wheat field in northwestern North Dakota, the state Health Department said Thursday.

State environmental geologist Kris Roberts said the 20,600-barrel spill, among the largest recorded in the state, was discovered on Sept. 29 by a farmer harvesting wheat about nine miles north of Tioga.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple said he wasn’t told of the spill until Wednesday night.

It might be easy to imagine that Tesoro’s pipeline spill was a one-time accident if it were not for the company’s track record of pollution and blatant law-breaking.

It was Tesoro’s Anacortes, Washington refinery that burst into flames in 2010 killing seven workers. And it was Tesoro that has chalked up so many refinery fires, flare-ups, and air quality violations that it has been charged with unprecedented fines by regulators and earned the ire of labor unions.

Sightline has documented Tesoro’s misdeeds here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Washington State is now evaluating Tesoro’s plan to build and operate a facility capable of handling a staggering 360,000 barrels of oil per day—a figure that’s larger than many pipelines—at the Port of Vancouver, Washington. The company’s track record should weigh heavily in the scales.

Although, on the other hand:

“Protection and care of the environment are fundamental to our core values, and we deeply regret any impact to the landowner,” Tesoro CEO Greg Goff said in a statement.

We are a community-supported resource and we can’t do this work without you!



  1. Eldan Goldenberg says:

    “we deeply regret any impact to the landowner” feels like one of those statements that says much more in its few words than the CEO probably intended.

Leave a Comment

Please keep it civil and constructive. Our editors reserve the right to monitor inappropriate comments and personal attacks.


You may add a link with HTML: <a href="URL">text to display</a>