TransCanada, the company that owns and operates the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, confirmed the incident. However, the leak was reported to authorities four hours after it started.
An oil spill of 5.000 barrel oil spills in South Dakota raises again the controversy of over pipelines and their environmental hazards. The incident occurred just a week before Nebraska authorities are to decided whether or not to approve the also controversial Keystone XL Pipeline, which was vetoed by the Obama administration, but is now supported by President Donald Trump.
The oil spill started at 6:00am (Central Time) near the small town of Amherst, 25 miles away from the North Dakota border, according to TransCanada’s website. However, the company submitted the official report to the authorities at 10:00am, four hours afterlater, according to NPR reporter Jeff Brady.
According to the company that owns the pipeline, the spill was first detected on Thursday morning after the overall oil pressure decreased. The damage occurred miles south from of the Ludden pumping station, in Marshall County, South Dakota.
“The area was completely isolated in 15 minutes and emergency procedures were activated (…) then we sealed this pipeline that begins in Hardesty, Alberta, passes by Cushing, Oklahoma, and ends in Wood River-Patoka, Illinois,” said the company’s spokesperson.
TransCanada shared information and an aerial photograph of the affected area, but has not yet responded to Univision News’ request for comment on the delay to report the damage caused by this to the authorities.
Another pipeline, same company
The one pipeline in Amherst is not the controversial and long-delayed Keystone XL Pipeline, but the damage it caused by it on Thursday supports publicly the fear and critique criticism from of native communities and owners near the site where this pipeline’s construction site is being built, who are afraid of the potential impact it could have on its surrounding properties and on the water supply. Also, tBoth hese two structures are promoted by the same company: TransCanada.
The oil spill takes place, coincidentally, when the Nebraska authorities are about to announce their decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and its route throughout the state.
After the spill, the Director of the Democratic Party of Nebraska, Jane Kleeb, who is against Keystone XL, said to the The Washington Post: “You cannot trust TransCanada. I have absolute trust in that the Nebraska Commission of Public Service will be on Nebraska’s side, and not on a foreign company’s side.”
“With a decision yet to be taken, it is expected that the Commission is paying close attention to this spill and what it means for the future. Although it is, unfortunately, too late to avoid this terrible oil spill in South Dakota, it is not too late to protect the families, farms and communities of Nebraska from paying the same price,” said the executive director at the League of Conservation Voters of Nebraska to Univision News’ Eliot Bostar, executive director at the League of Conservation Voters of Nebraska, an nonprofit organization of bipartisan political defense.
The Future of Keystone XL
The Keystone XL Pipeline project involves a 1,180 mile-long structure, of which 870 miles would be in the United States.
It is proposed by the Canadian corporation TransCanada and seeks to transport 830.000 barrels of synthetic oil from the Canadian province of Alberta to the middle of the United States, in Nebraska, when where it would be distributed to the diverse refineries around of the country, including those in Texas, the Gulf of Mexico, and a distribution center in Oklahoma.
In January 2015, and with 62 votes in favor and 36 against, the Senate gave its support to a bill to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. Weeks after, however, the initiative was vetoed by President Obama due to its environmental impact. The fFormer President said at the time that the pipeline would not have any significant, long-term benefit on the economy and that it would not be the right way to create long-lasting jobs. He also insisted that a pipeline would not lower the price of oil.”
The people supporting this project, especially Rrepublicans and oil industry representatives, assure that it would create many jobs and stimulate economic growth in states like North Dakota and Nebraska. President Trump himself gave a green light to the construction of the project.
In so doing, With Trump ’s approval, he revokes former President Obama’s veto and faces environmental groups who have opposed the measure for years.