An estimated 10,000 gallons of oil spilled onto the streets of Los Angeles last week, and children, seniors and anyone with a chronic disease were asked to stay indoors because of the foul-smelling air. The public health director for Los Angeles County, Jonathan Fielding, said there could be "mild, temporary health impacts." Most of the oil was quickly cleaned up, but that doesn't mean that we should forget just what happened here and how it fits in with a history of oil spills in the US.

Thanks to Americans United for Change, we have just such a list and it's kind of dispiriting to see. So far in 2014, March was a terrible month: 20,000 gallons spewed in Ohio, 1,600 went into Lake Michigan, 50,000 were derailed in Virginia and 168,000 gushed out in Texas. Also, in February, 12,000 gallons spilled in Minnesota. And, of course, 2013 was just awful, too. Climate Progress has put together a list of 45 fossil fuel disasters that happened last year (see more details below).

Americans United for Change is a group that supports the Renewable Fuel Standard, which sets a minimum level for biofuels in the national fuel supply. AUC's message after what happened in L: "Like oil spills? You'll love what happens after dismantling the Renewable Fuel Standard." Corn doesn't spill in quite the same way as crude oil, but we know that there's more than one plug-in vehicle driver reading this who'd like to point out that wind and solar energy doesn't spill at all.
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Another Day, Another Oil Spill

'50,000 gallons of crude oil spill onto LA street' : AP, May 15

Americans United for Change: "Like oil spills? You'll love what happens after dismantling the Renewable Fuel Standard."

Washington DC – Pro-Renewable Fuel Standard group Americans United for Change comm. dir. Jeremy Funk issued the following statement as 50,000 gallons of crude oil lay 'knee-high' in some places in the middle of Los Angeles today as a result of a ruptured pipe:

"Whether you live in the Gulf Coast community, near a railroad in Lynchburg, VA, a farm in North Dakota, or in the middle of a major metropolis like Los Angeles, it seems nowhere in America is out of reach from the messes big oil leaves behind. Headlines about oil industry spills and explosions and derailments have become a 'dog bites man' story. The alarming frequency of these costly, environmentally devastating and sometimes deadly disasters should give the EPA serious pause before deciding whether or not to roll back the Renewable Fuel Standard. Consider that ethanol makes up 10% of the U.S. gasoline supply that for every gallon of ethanol produced domestically, it's one less gallon sold of gasoline derived from dirty crude oil from unstable regions. That's why the oil industry wants the EPA to help put out of business their safer, cleaner, cheaper renewable fuels competition. But if the EPA give big oil what they want and drastically cuts down the amount ethanol in the nation's fuel supply, there's no way to avoid a corresponding increase in demand for crude oil and an increase in the number of disasters related to transporting it. So if you like oil spills -- you'll love what happens if the RFS is watered down."

Oil Spills Have Become Unacceptably Routine: Let's Not Make a Bigger Mess by Gutting the RFS ...

Ø L.A. Times, May 15: 'Pipeline rupture spews 50,000 gallons of crude oil in Atwater Village'

50,000 Gallons of Crude Oil is Knee-High in Atwater Village

Ø 'Less Than 24 Hours After Virginia Oil Train Spill, Same Company Derails Again In Maryland' : Think Progress, May 1

This image made available by the City of Lynchburg, shows several CSX tanker cars carrying crude oil in flames after derailing in downtown Lynchburg, Va., Wednesday, April 30, 2014.

Ø BP Refinery Leaks Oil Into Lake Michigan: Think Progress, March 25

Ø 'Texas Barge Collision Spills Up To 168,000 Gallons Of 'Sticky, Gooey, Thick, Tarry' Oil' : Think Progress, March 23

Ø EPA says Ohio oil leak at 20K gallons: Associated Press, March 24

Ø Train Spills 12,000 Gallons Of Oil In Minnesota, No Major Cleanup Effort Planned: Think Progress, Feb. 5

Ø '2013: What A Year: 45 Fossil Fuel Disasters The Industry Doesn't Want You To Know About': Think Progress, December 17, 2013

March 29: An ExxonMobil pipeline carrying Canadian Wabasca heavy crude from the Athabasca oil sands ruptures and spills thousands of barrels of oil in Mayflower, Arkansas. The ruptured pipeline gushed 210,000 gallons of heavy Canadian crude into a residential street and forced the evacuation of 22 homes. Exxon was hit with a paltry $2.6 million fine by federal pipeline safety regulators for the incident in November - just 1/3000th of its third quarter profits.

September 29: A North Dakota farmer winds up discovering the largest onshore oil spill in U.S. history, the size of seven football fields. At least 20,600 barrels of oil leaked from a Tesoro Corp-owned pipeline onto the Jensens' land, and it went unreported to North Dakotans for more than a week. An AP investigation later discovered that nearly 300 oil spills and 750 "oil field incidents" had gone unreported to the public since January 2012.

October 30: 17,000 gallons of crude oil spill from an eight-inch pipeline owned by Koch Pipeline Company in Texas. The spill impacted a rural area and two livestock ponds near Smithville and was discovered on a routine aerial inspection.

July 27: BP's Hercules 265 offshore gas rig in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana explodes, enveloping the rig in a cloud of gas and a thin sheen of gas in the water. After spewing gas for more than a day, the rig finally "bridged over," meaning small pieces of sediment and sand blocked more gas from escaping.

August 28: A "well-control incident" at an oil drilling rig in rural south Texas causes an "intense" explosion after workers were drilling horizontally into the Eagle Ford Shale, causing homes to be evacuated. No injuries reported.

March 27: A Canadian Pacific Railway train derails, spilling 30,000 gallons of tar sands oil in western Minnesota. Reuters called it "the first major spill of the modern North American crude-by-rail transit boom."

November 8: A 90-car train carrying North Dakota crude derails and explodes in a rural area of western Alabama. Flames spewed into the air on a Friday, only finally dying down by Sunday, in what the Huffington Post called "the most dramatic U.S. accident since the oil-by-rail boom began."

April 5: Residents near an ExxonMobil refinery begin to smell "burning tires and oil" after the refinery leaked condensate water that accumulated while the company was flaring gas. Through the leak, ExxonMobil announced that it had released 100 pounds of hydrogen sulfide and 10 pounds of benzene. According to readings at the spill site, the refinery measured 160 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide and 2 parts per million of benzene in the air.

August 28: Approximately 20 gallons of partially refined petroleum from a New Jersey refinery spills into the Delaware River, after a leak in a heat exchanger that is part of the refinery's crude oil processing unit. The spill was reported two hours after workers discovered it, when they realized it was going into the river.

January 27: A barge carrying 668,000 gallons of light crude oil on the Mississippi River crashed into a railroad bridge. An 80,000 gallon tank on the vessel was damaged, spilling oil into the waterway, which prompted officials to close the river for eight miles in either direction.

November 23: Five are hurt after a gas tank near a drilling rig explodes in Wyoming.

December 14: Thousands of gallons of gasoline spill into a harbor in southern Alaska on Saturday after a pump used to funnel fuel into boats is accidentally severed. The 5,500 gallon spill occurred in the small village of the village of Kake, whose residents rely on fish and subsistence to get by.

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