TransCanada shuts part of Keystone pipeline after South Dakota oil spill

TransCanada shuts part of Keystone pipeline after South Dakota oil spill

TransCanada shuts part of Keystone pipeline after South Dakota oil spill

Crews shut down the Keystone pipeline at approximately 6 this morning.

A total of 210,000 gallons of oil leaked Thursday from the Keystone Pipeline in Marshall County, South Dakota, the pipeline's operator, TransCanada, said. The cause was being investigated. TransCanada estimated that just under 17,000 gallons of oil spilled onto private land during that leak.

Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist manager at the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, says officials don't believe the leak has affected any surface water bodies or threatened any drinking water systems.

"We've always said it's not a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but when, and today TransCanada is making our case for us", said campaign director Kelly Martin.

The pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, to Cushing, Oklahoma, and to Wood River and Patoka in IL, has been shut, while the southern leg of the system to the Gulf Coast remains operational, the company said.

For comparison's sake, the Keystone pipeline experienced a previous leak in April 2016 that, at 16,800 gallons (or 400 barrels), was much smaller in scope.

The company says that it is providing state and federal regulators "with accurate and confirmed information on an ongoing basis". Investigators determined a weld problem was to blame in that spill.

The company said in a press release that the leak was discovered after a drop in the pipeline's pressure was detected.

The leak occurred about 3 miles southeast of the community of Amherst. Soon after Donald Trump became president, he signed memoranda to expedite the environmental review process for Keystone XL. The project and its route through Nebraska has been controversial. The substance flowing through the Keystone pipeline is known as diluted bitumen, or "dilbit", because the bitumen (the crude oil itself) is so thick and sticky it must be diluted in order to effectively flow through the system. Nebraska regulators plan to announce their decision next week.

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