Crews shut down the Keystone pipeline at approximately 6 this morning.
TransCanada, the company that owns and operates the Keystone Pipeline, says that an estimated 210,000 gallons, or 5000 barrels, of oil have spilled near the small town of Amherst, S.D. The cause was being investigated.
The leak occurred just days before the Nebraska Public Service Commission was due to announce a decision on Keystone XL, a 830,000-barrel expansion through the state, that has stirred a lot of controversy.
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This is the largest Keystone oil spill to date in South Dakota, said Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
"We've always said it's not a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but when, and today TransCanada is making our case for us", said campaign director Kelly Martin. TransCanada says on its website that the company has safely transported more than 1.5 billion barrels of oil, or about 63 billion gallons, through the system since operations began in 2010. 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.
The leak was detected after a drop in pressure in the operating system.
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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. The project and its route through Nebraska has been controversial.
The Keystone pipeline is part of a 2,687-mile system that also is to include the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
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