The Keystone pipeline that extends from Canada across the Great Plains, towards Texas, spilled about 5,000 barrels of oil — or 210,000 gallons. This is the largest Keystone oil spill in the state’s history to date.
This comes just a few days before a critical vote on Monday by the Public Service Commission (PSC) in Nebraska over whether to permit a new pipeline called Keystone XL, which has been under much controversy and opposition by environmentalist groups over the past few years.
Environmental activist group Greenpeace said the spill shows the new pipeline in Nebraska should not be approved. “The Nebraska Public Service Commission needs to take a close look at this spill,” said Rachel Rye Butler of Greenpeace. “A permit approval allowing Canadian oil company TransCanada to build Keystone XL is a thumbs-up to likely spills in the future.”
TransCanada, which has a vast network of oil and natural gas pipelines, said that the latest leak occurred about 35 miles south of the Ludden pump station, which is in southeast North Dakota, and that it was “completely isolated” within 15 minutes. The company said it obtained permission from the landowner to assess the spill and plan cleanup.
Immediately upon taking office, President Trump signed an executive order to clear obstacles for the Keystone XL, but TransCanada still needed a permit from the Nebraska PSC. Concerns there have revolved around potential harm to the state’s ecologically delicate Sandhills region and its vast Ogallala aquifer, prompting TransCanada to move the Nebraska segment further east.