Well this is awkward. After months/years of protests targeting the Keystone XL pipeline from environmentalists worried about oil spills, TransCanada has now been forced to shut down the pipeline following...drum roll please...a 5,000 barrel oil spill in South Dakota. According to The Hill, the pipeline was taken offline at 6am this morning following a leak that was discovered about 35 miles south of a pumping station in Marshall County, South Dakota.
Workers took the Keystone oil pipeline offline on Thursday after it spilled 5,000 barrels of oil in rural South Dakota, officials said.
A TransCanada crew shut down the pipeline at 6 a.m. Thursday morning after detecting an oil leak along the line, the company said. The leak was detected along a stretch of the pipeline about 35 miles south of a pumping station in Marshall County, South Dakota.
TransCanada estimates the pipeline leaked 5,000 barrels of oil, or about 210,000 gallons, before going offline. The company said it's working with state regulators and the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to assess the situation.
The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources heard about the leak at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday, ABC affiliate KSFY reported.
For those who aren't familiar with the project, the 1,179 mile Keystone XL pipeline links Canada’s Alberta oil sands to U.S. refineries. While a portion of the pipeline has been operating, part of it has still not been approved by state regulators.
Here is the statement on the incident posted by TransCanada earlier this morning:
At approximately 6 a.m. CST (5 a.m. MST) today, we safely shut down the Keystone pipeline after we detected a pressure drop in our operating system resulting from an oil leak that is under investigation.
The estimated volume of the leak is approximately 5,000 barrels. The section of pipe along a right-of-way approximately 35 miles (56 kilometres) south of the Ludden pump station in Marshall County, South Dakota was completely isolated within 15 minutes and emergency response procedures were activated.
The safety of the public and environment are our top priorities and we will continue to provide updates as they become available.
As you may recall, former President Barack Obama opposed the completion of the pipeline, but the Trump administration granted a permit for it in March. That said, Nebraska state regulators still need to approve the project in their state and a decision was expected from the Nebraska Public Service Commission next week....somehow we suspect that decision might be delayed.
The five members of the Nebraska Public Service Commission will vote on a proposed order for the Keystone XL pipeline on Nov. 20, the agency announced on Monday, though it didn’t detail what that decision might be.
Approval from the Nebraska commission is one of several tasks facing Keystone XL developer TransCanada, which hopes to build the pipeline and deliver oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico.
TransCanada reapplied for its Nebraska permit in February, putting the decision in the hands of the Public Service Commission. It applied to follow the same route bisecting Nebraska that the state’s governor approved in 2013, before President Obama rejected federal permits for the pipeline.
Ironically, Trump touted the Keystone XL pipeline as "the greatest technology known to man or woman" when he approved it back in March...oops.