The Keystone Pipeline Just Had a Large Spill (Surprising Nobody)

Oops, the Keystone Pipeline did it again. On Thursday, another large spill occurred from the controversial pipeline project, this time in the northern part of South Dakota. Altogether, 210,000 gallons of oil flowed out from a break in the pipe, equivalent to roughly 5,000 barrels.

“It is a below-ground pipeline, but some oil has surfaced above-ground to the grass,” said Brian Walsh, a representative for South Dakota’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources. “It will be a few days until they can… see if there is groundwater contamination.”

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Not that there’s ever a good time for an oil spill, but it’s especially bad timing for the pipeline’s owners, TransCanada. In a matter of days, the state of Nebraska is set to either approve or deny TransCanada’s plan to continue the pipeline through that state, as well. Property owners in Nebraska have pushed back against the idea, concerned that something – well, just like this exact spill, actually – could happen in their state.

TransCanada has thus far complimented its own response time and willingness to cooperate with authorities to fix the situation. “The safety of the public and environment are our top priorities and we will continue to provide updates as they become available,” said the company in an official statement.

Arguably, it seems that “making money” is an even higher priority, since no one would build a pipeline if they were most concerned with the environment and public safety

Nineteen months ago, the same pipeline had another major spill in another part of South Dakota. Though that spill leaked just one-twelfth the amount of oil as this latest one, it still required a two-month cleanup process.

Pipeline leaks are pretty much inevitable, with hundreds of such accidents occurring each year. It can’t all be blamed on old pipes either: even the newly approved Dakota Access Pipeline has already had some spills.

What that tells us is that we’re either going to have to learn to accept that oil spills are an unavoidable hazard of building them, or that we really ought not to build them in the first place. That’s why protests surrounding the Keystone Pipeline have been massive. The land, water and air are all at stake.

Thursday’s spill happened near tribal land, but not on it. Though Dave Flute, a leader for the local Sioux tribe, was grateful that TransCanada and government arrived promptly to contain the problem, he has concerns that he hopes will be answered transparently in the near future.

“We want to know how long is it going to take to dig this plume of contaminated soil and how we can be reassured, without a doubt, that it has not and will not seep into the aquifer,” Flute said.

Local inhabitants shouldn’t even have to worry about their water being contaminated, though. It’s time we stood up for our natural resources and realized that these pipelines are not worth the potential (and certain) damage they cause. Add your name to this popular Care2 petition to let the president know that Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines should be stopped permanently.

Photo Credit: Lorie Shaull


Marie W
Marie W8 months ago

Thank you!

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hillabout a year ago

Pipelines are a whole lot safer than trucking it hundreds of miles, using gas and risking crashes and the leaks and potential loss of lives.

Julie D
Julie Dabout a year ago

Of course the damn thing leaked! We all knew it would as all of these pipelines have a history of leaking. Lots of leaks happen all the time they are simply not reported in the news media. I am sad and very angry this has happened yet again.

Stephanie s
Stephanie Yabout a year ago

It must be scrapped.

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeldabout a year ago

Colin C.,
Does that mean we should replace aging pipeline with new ones?

Colin Clauscen
Colin Cabout a year ago

As the pipes age there will be more spills they were told it would happen

Judith Emerson
Judith Emersonabout a year ago

Keep It In The Ground!!!!!

Kathryn I
Kathryn Iabout a year ago

Noted - Thanks!

Ellie M
Ellie Mabout a year ago


Dot A
Dot Aabout a year ago

Don't ya just feel queasy looking at the d-Trump's face on that petition. His arrogance and narcissism are screaming at the whole of humanity, as he step by step dumps (fill in this blank with your own personal best selection of descriptive nouns) all over us. His wicked smile reveals how he's luv'in the attack on everyone he despises, and he knows his life-time is getting short enough that whatever damage he's doing, he'll likely be done for from this earth plane anyway. His love is of money. So all he can do to collect wealth makes the Madman exuberantly stimulated, as if fulfilling an animalistic drive. Pathetic, and oh so very dangerous to us all. [signed, of course]