Keystone Pipeline Leak Reported in ND
Last week, over 380,000 gallons of oil leaked from the Keystone Pipeline, a total amounting to 9,120 barrels of crude oil, according to reports. The incident was detected last Tuesday (Oct. 29), near Edinburgh, North Dakota.
Sections of Keystone pipeline were shut down in response to the leak, which impacted a wetland area and overall 2,500 square yards of land. TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada, said that air quality, wildlife and environment monitoring are being conducted.
Keystone Pipeline Issue History
The Keystone Pipeline carries oil through seven U.S. states, eventually working in tandem with the Keystone XL Pipeline. Keystone can handle up to 23 million gallons of crude oil daily.
As of last April, the company revealed that approximately 9,700 barrels of oil spilled on farmland in Marshall County, South Dakota, on Nov. 16, 2017, considerably more than the 5,000 barrels the company originally estimated were lost.
The initial estimate makes it one of the biggest onshore crude spills in the past decade and the largest for Keystone. https://t.co/KjnbNFPev8— CBC News (@CBCNews) November 1, 2019
Preliminary reports indicated that the leak may have come as a result of damage to either the pipeline itself or its protective coating, caused during construction 10 years ago. The Aberdeen News noted that if the current estimate is correct, that spill is the seventh-largest in the U.S. since 2010.
Last July, officials confirmed at least one section of the pipeline north of Britton, South Dakota, was being dug up for inspection. A year later, a federal report indicated that improper coatings were likely used on the pipeline. The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration issued a notice of probable violation to pipeline owner TC Oil Operations, also known as TC Energy, in mid-June.
According to the Associated Press, the cause of the leak is currently under investigation. North Dakota regulators have also noted that drinking water supplies were not affected, and TC Energy has also claimed that the spill has been contained.
Futurism reports that the U.S. government stated in 2011 that the pipeline would have “no significant impact” to the area. Karl Rockeman, a director at North Dakota’s Department of Environmental Quality, noted that this incident was one of the larger spills the state has experienced.
According to the CBC, the recent incident marks one of the largest spills for Keystone and one of the biggest onshore crude spills in the last decade.
“We don’t yet know the extent of the damage from this latest tar sands spill, but what we do know is that this is not the first time this pipeline has spilled toxic tar sands, and it won’t be the last,” said Sierra Club Associate Director Catherine Collentine.
“We’ve always said it’s not a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but when, and once again TC Energy has made our case for us.”
Currently, the U.S. State Department is soliciting comments on the Keystone XL Pipeline. Construction is currently slated to begin sometime next year.
TC Energy has also not detailed when pipeline operations will resume, but went on to inform shippers that service to U.S. Midwest refiners would remain closed down in the meantime. The company is also using backhoes and vacuum trucks to recover spilled oil.