Environment

The Keystone Pipeline just had the largest oil spill in South Dakota’s history

This is exactly what activists warned about.

According to reports, a total of 210,000 gallons of oil leaked from the Keystone Pipeline in Marshall County, South Dakota. The pipeline is currently shut down as investigators try to determine the cause.

Spokesman for South Dakota’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Brian Walsh, said that the spill is the state’s largest to date. In April 2016, there was a 16,800 gallon spill, which is the equivalent of 400 barrels. This time around, the spill involved 5,000 barrels.

“It is a below-ground pipeline but some oil has surfaced above ground to the grass. It will be a few days until they can excavate and get in borings to see if there is groundwater contamination, Walsh said, adding that there are no initial reports of oil affecting wildlife or water.

From The Washington Post:

The spill comes just days before a crucial decision next Monday 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 leaks that critics of the new pipeline say shows that TransCanada should not receive another permit.

TransCanada, the pipeline’s operator, said that safety of the public and environment “are our top priorities and we will continue to provide updates as they become available.”

“The Nebraska Public Service Commission needs to take a close look at this spill,” said Rachel Rye Butler of Greenpeace. “A permit approval allowing Canadian oil company TransCanada to build Keystone XL is a thumbs-up to likely spills in the future.”

Featured image via Lorie Shaull (Flickr)

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