South Dakota Experiences Yet another Oil Spill This Year

TransCanada the operator Keystone Pipeline reported oil leakage of over 210,000 gallons. The spillage occurred in South Dakota near Amherst, and it is one of the worst Keystone spills to be witnessed in South Dakota after a similar incident occurred in 2016 where more than 16,800 gallons spilled. According to Brian Walsh, a spokesperson for the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, workers from the operator were able to shut down the pipeline immediately the flaw was detected. Investigations are ongoing to determine the cause and impact of the problem.

This leakage came at a time when Nebraska officials were expected to decide whether Keystone XL Pipeline project is free to proceed to the next level. Though the leakage occurred on the underground pipeline, the oil was able to find its way to the surface of the ground, but Walsh said, initial reports indicate that none of the waterways, water systems or wildlife has been affected. He further said that the company had contained the situation and officials are carrying out excavation to ascertain if underground water is contaminated.

TransCanada said that it is collaborating with both the state and federal agencies in its quest to bring the condition under control. Walsh urged the public to dispel any fear they might be having about the leakage since there are no reports indicating environment degradation or health issues caused by oil. The Environmental Protection Agency is among the agencies that are closely checking the situation, and the public will be provided with assistance and useful information regarding the progress the company has made towards remedying the situation. Keeping the public updated about the situation is part of the TransCanada’s efforts to demonstrate environmental and public safety is core in their operations.

The Keystone Pipeline transports crude oil from Canada, and it is over 2,600 miles. The system starts in Hardisty and cuts through several major locations and finally ends in Texas. The spill occurred near Sioux property; therefore, it attracted the attention of custodians of this historic place. Dave Flute, tribal chairperson for Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, is among the officials who visited the leakage in order to get clear information on how long the company would take to excavate the contaminated soil to prevent the oil from seeping into the aquifer.

Information from South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ website indicates that in these years alone, the state has suffered three leaks. In the first quarter of the year, close to 84 gallons leaked from Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline is among the oil projects that have faced fierce opposition from environmentalists and residents. Standing Rock Sioux tribe staged numerous protests against Dakota Access Pipeline. Some of the demonstrations escalated into violent confrontations with security officials.

Keystone XL Pipeline is another project that received permission to advance to the construction stage by the government of Trump. However, the pipeline has borne the blunt of opposition from different environmentalists. The opposition gives varying reasons for resisting this massive project while supporters say it will provide an incredible number of employment opportunities.