The Stream, November 1, 2019: Keystone Pipeline Spills 383,000 Gallons of Crude Oil in North Dakota, Affecting Wetlands

The Global Rundown

The Keystone pipeline spills 383,000 gallons of crude oil in North Dakota. Severe flooding forces 200,000 people in Central Somalia from their homes. Rural Kentucky counties improve the quality of their water, but many residents are now unable to pay their water bills. Parts of Southeast Asia’s Mekong River continue to plummet. Hydroelectric lakes in Southeast Alaska slowly recover from drought. 

“It is one of the larger spills in the state.” –Karl Rockeman, director of the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality’s division of water quality, in reference to a 383,000-gallon crude oil spill that occurred in North Dakota on Tuesday evening. The spill, which has now been contained, reportedly affected a half-acre of wetlands. The Hill

In context: Water and Climate Safety, Finance Security, Drive Keystone XL Conflict.

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41 percent Amount that water rates increased in Martin County, Kentucky, over the past year as local officials worked to improve drinking water safety in the area. Parts of rural Kentucky have grappled with dirty water for years, but now that the problem is being addressed, many customers are unable to afford the resulting increase in water bills. NPR

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200,000 Residents of Beledweyne, Somalia, who have been forced to leave their homes due to intense rainfall in the Hiraan and Bakool regions of Central Somalia. The storms have caused floods and infrastructure damage, leading to concerns about outbreaks of malaria, cholera, and other diseases. Relief Web

Science, Studies, and Reports

Stretches of the Mekong River continue to plummet to record-low levels. In parts of northern Thailand, the river has shrunk from roughly 1,000 meters wide down to just a few dozen meters. The plunging water levels are due to a combination of drought and the newly-opened Xayaburi hydro-electric power plant in upstream Laos.

In context: One By One Big Hydropower Dams Disrupt Mekong River’s Free Flow

On the Radar

Several hydroelectric lakes in Southeast Alaska, which provide a portion of the electricity for the cities of Ketchikan, Wrangell and Petersburg, are gradually refilling following drought. Last year, the reservoirs dropped so low that the three communities were forced to use diesel power temporarily. Now, officials say the lakes are replenishing well. Alaska Public Media 

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