On Thursday, days before Nebraska regulators decide whether to grant a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline in the state to TransCanada, the company behind the project, the first Keystone pipeline-which runs from Canada through the Great Plains-spilled around 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota.
TransCanda, the company that operates the pipeline, said the leak was "completely isolated within 15 minutes and emergency response procedures were activated" as soon as it was discovered on Thursday morning.
We have been keeping our shippers and customers up to date and have communicated that the pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Cushing, Oklahoma and to Wood River/Patoka, Illinois is expected to remain shut down as we respond to this incident.
According to the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources' website, this is the third pipeline spill in the state this year.
A spokeswoman for the Nebraska Public Service Commission said Friday that commissioners will base their decision exclusively on evidence presented during public hearings and from official public comments.
The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta through North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska, where it splits in two directions: one continues towards IL, and the other towards Texas. The move reversed a 2015 decision by the Obama administration to reject the project, citing the pipeline's effect on US efforts to combat climate change and lower carbon emissions. It was vociferously opposed by environmental groups and Native American tribes. Among the groups, 350.org, which helped launch national protests against the project in the U.S.
A proposed addition to the Keystone system, called Keystone XL, has been a political flashpoint in the USA in recent years. Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier says the extension, called Keystone XL, will travel within three miles of the tribe's reservation.
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A Nebraska law approved in 2011 prevents the commissioners from factoring pipeline safety or the possibility of leaks into their decisions.
The Sierra Club was also quick to condemn the spill, urging the commission not to vote for the project.
Crews are continuing to clean up what is considered the largest oil spill in South Dakota history.
"They lie to states and these state senators don't have time to do the research on their own". Bob Mckeown investigates TransCanada's influential allies in Washington and the deal to build Keystone XL.
"We send actual pigs through our pipeline".
"From the multitude of spills we've seen in Ohio along the construction of the Rover Pipeline, to the 210,000 gallon spill today in South Dakota due to a mishap with the Keystone XL pipeline, we should be sure safeguards are in place to ensure that all Ohioans, and Americans, have clean air, land and water", said Melanie Houston, the director of Climate Programs at the Ohio Environmental Council.