On Thursday morning TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline reportedly spilled 210,000 gallons of oil in Marshall County, South Dakota
The leak was detected around 5:45 am after TransCanada noticed a loss of pressure
According to the company, the spill was “completely isolated” within fifteen minutes
The massive spill comes as TransCanada awaits approval for the Keystone XL from Nebraska
As TransCanada waits for approval from Nebraska for their Keystone XL project, the company’s sister project, the Keystone Pipeline spilled over 200,000 gallons of oil into Marshall County, South Dakota.
At about 5:45 am on Thursday morning, TransCanada said they noticed a loss of pressure in the Keystone Pipeline. According to a statement from the company, “crews safely shut down its Keystone pipeline at approximately 6 a.m. CST (5 a.m. MST) after a drop in pressure was detected in its operating system resulting from an oil leak that is under investigation.”
The section of the pipeline, located 35 miles south of the Ludden pump station in Marshall County, was reportedly isolated in “completely isolated” within 15 minutes and emergency procedures were activated.
Crews, including TransCanada specialists from emergency management, engineering, environmental management and safety as well as contracted, nationally recognized experts are assessing the situation. TransCanada is providing State and Federal regulators, including the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the National Response Center (NRC), with accurate and confirmed information on an ongoing basis.
Brian Walsh with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources told KSFY that TransCanada reported the leak at 10:30 am Thursday morning. Walsh believes that cleanup efforts are going to take “some time.”
The Keystone pipeline is a 1,100-mile-long pipeline that pumps oil from Alberta, Canada down to hubs in Patoka, Illinois, and Cushing, Oklahoma.
Following Thursday’s leak, TransCanada has decided to keep the northern area, which includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois, closed until the leak can be fixed. The pipeline’s southern area, which pumps from Oklahoma to export terminals along the Gulf Coast.
Keystone’s Soiled History
During the Keystone Pipeline first year of operation, there were 35 leaks in America and Canada, one of which was a 21,000 gallon gusher at a North Dakota pump station.
On April 4, 2016, TransCanada requested a “no-fly zone” in Freeman, South Dakota around an oil spill from the Keystone Pipeline. The order was short lived and quickly pulled after a supervisor’s review of the order.
TransCanada originally claimed the 2016 spill was a “minor leak” of 187 gallons of oil. In reality, it was later discovered to be 16,900 gallons of oil the Keystone had spilled. The soil around roughly 275 feet of pipe was dug up in search of the “small” leak.
TransCanada has been fighting for years over the approval for the pipeline’s sister project, the Keystone XL. The Keystone XL is a proposed shortcut and enlargement for the Keystone Pipeline that will go through Alberta and Saskatchewan and the states of Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. Nebraska is the only area that has yet to approve the Keystone XL.
In 2015, the Obama administration killed the Keystone XL project. When President Donald Trump first entered office, he almost immediately gave approval to both the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL. With TransCanada’s history of spills from the Keystone Pipeline, many believe the Keystone XL will only bring more massive spills.