Cleanup crews are responding to a spill of at least 5,000 barrels of oil from the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota that was reported Thursday morning to environmental regulators. The cause was being investigated.
Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist manager at the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, says officials don't believe the leak has affected any surface water bodies or threatened any drinking water systems. "Some landowners are concerned about how an oil spill might harm their property and water supplies". State regulators have already granted construction permits for the pipeline. In addition, Reuters reports that a portion of the pipeline running from Alberta to Oklahoma and IL has been closed until further notice, yet the pipeline's southern leg remains unaffected and continues to operate.
The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration didn't immediately return an email requesting additional information from The Associated Press.
The Keystone pipeline has leaked in South Dakota before, as recently as last spring.
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Until then, Sessions said, the department can continue to aggressively prosecute people who violate the civil rights of others. The FBI defines a hate crime as quote "a traditional offense like murder, arson or vandalism with an added element of bias ".
TransCanada said at the time that the leak was the first detected on the pipeline since it began operating, though there had been leaks at pumping stations.
Amherst is about 200 miles north of Sioux Falls, S.D., and about 25 miles from the state's border with North Dakota.
This spill should be a stark warning for Nebraska's PSC as it considers TransCanada's proposed route for Keystone XL through some of the state's most sensitive farmlands and aquifers. Based on the safety record of Keystone I, Nebraska's PSC should carefully consider the impacts of TransCanada's much larger Keystone XL pipeline as it weighs its decision on Monday.