September 21, 2023
Keystone pipeline ordered shut down after leak of 14,000 barrels of oil

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says it ordered a shutdown of the Keystone oil pipeline this week, after a leak of 14,000 barrels of crude oil was found in northeastern Kansas.

“We’re monitoring & investigating the Keystone Pipeline leak first detected Weds evening,” Buttigieg said on Twitter Friday, including that the administration has issued a Correction Motion Order “requiring a shutdown of the affected section, evaluation of the trigger, and different security measures.”

The pipeline’s Canadian proprietor, TSX-listed TC Power, had beforehand acknowledged the pipeline was shut down, however Friday’s announcement was the primary suggestion that it there was a proper request to take action from authorities.

The leak is the biggest within the historical past of the pipeline, which carries greater than 600,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. About one fifth of all of the crude oil that Canada exports to the U.S. every single day goes alongside the pipeline.

On Wednesday night oil began spilling into a creek close to the pipeline in Washington County, Kan., about 240 kilometres northwest of Kansas Metropolis.

The corporate says the affected pipeline section had been “remoted” and the oil contained on the web site with booms, or obstacles. No clarification for what brought about the spill was given.

Among the many largest spills ever

The quantity of oil spilled has been estimated at 14,000 barrels, making it bigger than all of the 22 earlier spills mixed on the Keystone pipeline because it was opened in 2010, based on Zack Pistora, a lobbyist for the Sierra Membership in Kansas.

“That is going to be months, possibly even years earlier than we get the total deal with on this catastrophe and know the extent of the injury and get all of it cleaned up,” he stated.

TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline amenities are seen in Hardisty, Alta. in 2015. TC Power on Thursday stated it shut the Keystone pipeline and was responding to an oil launch. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

In September 2013, a Tesoro Corp. pipeline in North Dakota ruptured and spilled 20,600 barrels, based on U.S. Division of Transportation knowledge. The corporate, which labored to recuperate oil for years however solely recovered a fraction of the spill, stated {that a} lightning strike might have brought about that break.

A costlier spill occurred in July 2010, when an Enbridge Inc. pipeline in Michigan ruptured and spilled greater than 20,000 barrels into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. Lots of of houses and companies had been evacuated and federal regulators later ordered Enbridge to dredge the contaminated sediment from the river.

The Keystone pipeline’s earlier largest spill got here in 2017, when greater than 6,500 barrels had been spilled close to Amherst, S.D.,, based on a U.S. Authorities Accountability Workplace report launched final 12 months. The second largest occurred in 2019 close to Edinburg, N.D., when it leaked 4,515 barrels.

No evacuations ordered

The U.S. Environmental Safety Company stated there have been no recognized results but on ingesting water wells or the general public in reference to this week’s spill, and the oil did not transfer from the creek to bigger waterways. No evacuations had been ordered as a result of the break occurred in rural pastureland, based on Randy Hubbard, the Washington County Emergency Administration coordinator.

TC Power stated it had arrange environmental monitoring on the web site, together with around-the-clock air high quality monitoring.

“Our main focus proper now could be the well being and security of onsite workers and personnel, the encompassing group, and mitigating threat to the surroundings,” an organization assertion stated.

Junior Roop, the sexton of a cemetery close to the spill web site, stated folks might odor the oil on the town.

“It was like driving by a refinery,” he stated.

Considerations that spills might pollute waterways spurred opposition to plans by TC Power to construct one other crude oil pipeline within the Keystone system, the 1,900-kilometre Keystone XL, which might have reduce throughout Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Critics additionally argued that utilizing crude from Western Canada’s oil sands would worsen local weather change, and President Joe Biden’s cancellation of a U.S. allow for the undertaking led the corporate to tug the plug final 12 months.

Native response

Paul Stewart, an space farmer, stated a part of it was contained on his land utilizing yellow booms and a dam of dust. The spill occurred in Mill Creek, which flows into the Little Blue River.

The Little Blue feeds the Huge Blue River, which flows into Tuttle Creek Lake, north of Manhattan, house of Kansas State College. The EPA stated the oil didn’t have an effect on the Little Blue.

Chris Pannbacker stated the pipeline runs by means of her household’s farm. She and her husband drove north of their farmhouse and throughout a bridge over Mill Creek.

“We checked out it from each side, and it was black on each side,” stated Pannbacker, a reporter for the Marysville Advocate newspaper.

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