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Oil Spills Could Be Prevented Under New Federal Safety Regulation

Oil pipeline accidents have caused hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and billions of dollars in environmental damage. Environmental advocates estimate nearly 300 incidents involving oil pipelines occur per year on average. A new set of safety regulations release by the United States Department of Transportation hopes to reduce that number.

The new rules, posted on the website for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, include inspections in areas prone to extreme weather, expanded use of leak detection systems, and stricter measures for companies to analyze inspection results. Although there was a push to add requirements to install additional automatic shut-off valves, this was left out of the current rules.

Leading Causes of Oil Pipeline Incidents:

  • Excavation Damage
  • Corrosion
  • Material, Welding or Equipment Failure
  • Natural Force Damage
  • Other Outside Force Damage
  • Incorrect Operation


Louisiana ranks fifth among all states in the number of pipeline incidents since 1986. The devastation caused by common pipeline spillage was exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

In addition to immediate injuries and cleanup costs, oil spills pose significant health hazards. Adults exposed to crude oil can experience breathing problems, dizziness, irregular heartbeats and coma. Crude oil contains known teratogens, which can cause birth defects and lowered survival for fetuses. Long term exposure may cause neurological problems, damage to kidneys and other organs, and increase the risk of cancer.

Oil spills create enormous damage and the communities impacted are often unaware of how long term the effects can be. Contaminated soil or water from an oil spill can make your home worthless, and result in a lifetime of expensive medical treatment. Your children may face permanent disability as a result of oil spill exposure. Despite this, oil pipelines spillage continues to occur at an alarming rate.

If you have been a victim of environmental negligence, contact Simien & Simien, experienced Louisiana oilfield contamination lawyers. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve. Call to speak with a representative today.

Call (800) 374-8422 for a FREE consultation today.