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article imageKeystone pipeline shut down over oil leak in South Dakota

By Karen Graham     Apr 6, 2016 in Environment
A key section of the Keystone pipeline was shut down due to an oil spill TransCanada said on Monday. TransCanada is reporting that the spill amounted to 187 gallons of crude oil.
“When you have a pipe running through your farm or ranch-land all you think about is: it could break today," Jane Kleeb, the head of Bold Nebraska was quoted as saying by EcoWatch after she heard the news of the leak on Saturday.
The leak was discovered on Saturday by a landowner in Hutchinson, South Dakota, Loern Schulz, who found oil in surface water near the Keystone pipeline’s right-of-way. The leak was reported, and by Sunday, TransCanada had shut down the pipeline that originates in Alberta, Canada and goes to Steele City, Nebraska. The rest of the Keystone pipeline in the U.S. is still operational.
The incident is near the Freeman Pump Station in a rural area of Hutchinson County. According to CBC News, it is not clear how much oil was spilled. Chris Nelson, chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission was quoted as saying, "We've been given an early estimate, but until they actually dig down to the pipeline, I don't think they're going to have a firm number on the exact number of gallons that were involved."
TransCanada, in a statement, said: "No significant impact to the environment has been observed and our investigation continues." The pipeline remains shut down from Hardisty, Alberta to Wood River, Illinois, and from Steele City, Nebraska to Cushing, Oklahoma. The Gulf Coast pipeline from Cushing to Nederland, Texas remains open.
TransCanada said all the appropriate regulatory agencies and landowners have been notified. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) referred all questions to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration told CNNMoney it's "actively investigating" the incident and has sent an inspector to the site of the leak.
It may seem strange, but once TransCanada had a representative at the site, and the news media broke the story on Monday, access to the site was blocked, making it impossible to document the spill. Even more unusual was that the FAA blocked pilots from flying over the site to take pictures, saying air space was off limits until May 8.
“To have the FAA close off airspace for a foreign corporation is a big problem,” Kleeb told EcoWatch. “We want to take our own pictures. With 100 clean-up workers on site, we have a right to be taking our own pictures and finding out our own information.”
While TransCanada has released a couple pictures of the site, they do not show any oil, although the company admits oil as visible when its representatives arrived.
More about Keystone pipeline, South Dakota, TransCanada, Tarsands, Oil leak
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