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ND farmer finds oil spill while harvesting wheat

N.D.’s response to an oil spill the size of seven football fields raises questions about how the state, in the midst of an oil boom, reports such incidents.

BISMARCK, N.D. — A North Dakota farmer who discovered an oil spill the size of seven football fields while out harvesting wheat says that when he found it, crude was bubbling up out of the ground.

Farmer Steve Jensen says he smelled the crude for days before the tires on his combines were coated in it. At the apparent break in the Tesoro Corp.’s underground pipeline, the oil was “spewing and bubbling 6 inches high,” he said in a telephone interview Thursday.

What Jensen had found on Sept. 29 turned out it was one of the largest spills recorded in the state. At 20,600 barrels it was four times the size of a pipeline rupture in late March that forced the evacuation of more than 20 homes in Arkansas.

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