Dakota Datebook

Knife River Rupture

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Oil development in western North Dakota has drawn strong criticism and concern from environmental advocates worried such development could affect the land, water, and wildlife resources. Such concern, however, is far from new. North Dakotans awoke on this date in 1970 to see a shocking image – a very polluted Knife River on the front page of many state newspapers. A pipeline near Beulah had ruptured, pouring crude into nearby Brush Creek, and by May 5th the oil had reached the Knife River. Over some stretches, the black sludge completely covered the surface of the water. Although the exact amount of oil released was not known, Game and Fish officials said the impact on wildlife was minimal since most fish were not yet swimming upstream to spawn.


Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job



Dill, Joseph (ed.). 1988 North Dakota: 100 Years: p. 126. The Forum Publishing Company: Fargo, ND.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Tuesday, May 5, 1970; p. 1.



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Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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