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A 9,000-barrel leak in the Keystone pipeline in North Dakota spilled enough crude oil to fill half an Olympic-sized swimming pool

10:44 04 November 2019 Author :  

•             The second of two oil spills in two years along the Keystone pipeline resulted in half an Olympic-sized swimming pool's worth of crude oil spilling onto a North Dakota wetlands area.

•             The Associated Press reports that the leak was discovered Tuesday night and that crews shut down the pipeline, which extends through 7 US states and into Canada.

•             TC Energy, the company that owns the pipeline, estimates about 383,000 gallons – or more than 9,000 barrels of oil – were spilled, though North Dakota regulators say drinking water sources were not affected.

•             Activists opposing the proposed Keystone XL pipeline extension were outraged by the spill, especially because TransCanada claims safety is a "top priority" and says spills are "unlikely."

Another massive spill along the Keystone pipeline has prompted outrage from activists who are currently in opposition to the Keystone XL expansion that was first rejected by former President Barack Obama but given allowed by a permit from President Donald Trump.

The oil leak is the second spill to happen in two years under the pipeline's sole management, TC Energy (formerly TransCanada). This leak spilled about 383,000 gallons of oil, or more than 9,000 barrels, in an area of North Dakota that is classified as a wetland, but North Dakota regulators told the Associated Press that drinking water supplies were not affected.

Enough crude oil was spilled to fill half of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, according to TC Energy's own estimates. The leak was discovered Tuesday night and crews shut down the pipeline afterward. The company has yet to determine publicly what caused the leak to occur.

For several years, US activists have joined indigenous people, whose lands are near or directly affected by the pipeline, to argue against the project and its resulting phases, like the Keystone XL. Currently, the pipeline runs from Canada's tar sands region through 7 US states to reach oil refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma.

The pipeline can handle 23 million gallons of crude oil daily. Tuesday's leak occurred near a TC Energy facility near Edinburgh, North Dakota, which has a population of around 200 people. The spill was around 3 miles away from the community. TC Energy said it contained the spill and that the leak did not extend beyond the immediate area.

In November 2017, the pipeline spilled more than 200,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota, in a similarly sparsely populated area. The spills have provoked activists, especially in light of TC Energy's 2016 claim, as reported by The Guardian, that leaks were "unlikely" and that safety was the company's "top priority."

The US State Department is currently collecting public comments on a revised environmental impact statement for the Keystone XL pipeline through November 18. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and take around two years. Trump is strongly in favor of the pipeline, which he says will create more than 20,000 jobs – a miscalculation Insider previously reported is up to 7 times the actual number of jobs.

After the spill, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders tweeted that, as president, he would shut down the pipeline that "should never have been built in the first place."/BI

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