The Keystone pipeline running from Canada across the Great Plains leaked Thursday morning, spilling about 5,000 barrels of oil — or 210,000 gallons — southeast of a small town in northeast South Dakota.
The spill comes on the eve of a crucial decision by the Public Service Commission in Nebraska over whether to grant a permit for a new, long-delayed sister pipeline called Keystone XL, which has been mired in controversy for several years. Both are owned by Calgary-based TransCanada.
The spill on the first Keystone pipeline is the latest in a series of incidents that critics of the new pipeline say shows that TransCanada should not receive another permit.
"TransCanada cannot be trusted," said Jane Kleeb, head of the Nebraska Democratic Party and a longtime activist opposed to Keystone XL.
"I have full confidence that the Nebraska Public Service Commission is going to side with Nebraskans, not a foreign oil company."
TransCanada, which has a vast network of oil and natural gas pipelines, said that the leak occurred about 35 miles south of the Ludden pump station in Marshall County, S.D., and that it was "completely isolated" within 15 minutes. The company said it obtained permission from the landowner to assess the spill and begin cleanup.
Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist manager at the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said that the leaking pipe was in "either a grass or an agricultural field" and that TransCanada had people at the site. Walsh said the leak was detected about 5:30 a.m.
"Based on what we know now, the spill has not impacted a surface water body," Walsh said.
"It has not done that. So that's good news."
2017 © The Washington Post
This article was originally published by The Washington Post.