A contamination report recently obtained by Philadelphia Indymedia states that up to 1,629 pounds of used gear-lubricating oil were spilled onto residences and farm fields in Bedford County, Pennsylvania this past August. Despite the presence of this report in Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) files, officials are maintaining to residents and the press that only 20 gallons of gear oil was released, additionally misleading the public to believe that the oil is non-toxic Omala Oil RL 320.
On August 23, Spectra Energy’s Steckman Ridge natural gas compressor station on Rock Hill Church road experienced an “emergency shutdown,” 1,629 pounds of lubricating oil and 6,460 pounds of methane (including 1,151 pounds of volatile organic compounds) were sprayed into the air and estimated to have landed up to one and a half miles from the plant, coating a very fertile agricultural, fishing and hunting region of Pennsylvania with potentially toxic industrial gear oil.
“Wayne and I were sitting out on the back porch that Sunday and then we heard a big bang but didn’t see anything flying out of the sky,” said Angel Smith who lives half a mile from Spectra’s compressor station. “The next day, a neighbour called saying that his fields were covered with oil so I went down and videotaped that. I also found that my fields were covered with oil too.”