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Keystone Pipeline Leak Spills 800,000 Liters of Oil

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On Thursday, the Keystone pipeline, operated by TransCanada Corp., leaked approximately 210,000 gallons of oil onto the surrounding landscape. Crews shut down the pipeline when a drop in pressure was detected and activated the company’s emergency response procedures. While the location of the issue was found, the cause of the leak is currently under investigation.

As reported by Fox News, the leak was south of a pump station in northeastern South Dakota and took place on agricultural land. At this time, according to environmental scientists manager at the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources Brian Walsh, officials don’t believe the spill affected area surface water bodies, such as a lake or river, or posed a threat to the supply of drinking water.

“Ultimately, the cleanup responsibility lies with TransCanada, and they’ll have to clean it up in compliance with our state regulations,” said Walsh.

TransCanada released a statement regarding the leak, saying that the pipeline will remain shut down while they address the issue. No time estimate was provided.

A spill in southeastern South Dakota caused by a leak in April 2016 prompted a similar shutdown. At the time, only 17,000 gallons were spilled, and the pipeline remained inoperable for a week. The cause of that leak was deemed to be an “anomaly” on a weld.

The Keystone pipeline is part of a 2,687-mile system and transports crude oil from Alberta, Canada through the eastern Dakotas, along with Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri before reaching refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma.

On a daily basis, the pipeline can carry approximately 60,000 barrels, or around 23 million gallons, of oil.

The larger pipeline system is the subject of some controversy as the proposed Keystone XL pipeline has faced significant opposition from environmental groups, Native American tribes, and some area landowners.

A federal permit for the project was issued by President Donald Trump in March, even though the Obama administration had previously rejected the plan, and several state approvals have been acquired.

Nebraska regulators were examining the issue to determine whether to provide their approval. A decision by the group was expected to be announced next week.