South Dakota Mulls Shutting Down Keystone Pipeline After Oil Leaks

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Officials with South Dakota’s energy regulatory agency are considering revoking the Keystone Pipeline’s operating permit after the multi-billion-line sprang a large leak earlier this month

TransCanada’s operating permit could be nixed if an initial probe of a Nov. 16 oil spill shows the company behind Keystone violated a license it forged with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, according to members of the agency.

The license’s terms include requirements for construction, inspections of pipeline infrastructure, and other environmental safeguards. One member questioned the safety of the project.

“They testified that this is going to be a state-of-the-art pipeline,” Gary Hanson, one of the commissioners, told reporters shortly after the leaks were discovered. “We want to know the pipeline is going to operate in a fashion that is safe and reliable. So far it’s not going well.”

The line, which stretches 2,147-mile from Canada to the Texas coast, has had three significant leaks in the U.S. since operations began in 2010, including a 5,000-barrel spill this month in rural South Dakota, according to a report Monday from Reuters.

TransCanada’s spill risk analysis estimated that there would be “no more than (one spill) every 41 years” in the South Dakota section of the pipeline. The state has seen two spills since 2010, when the project went online.

Nebraska regulators, meanwhile, handed TransCanada and President Donald Trump a major victory earlier this month after approving the company’s Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission voted 3-2 to approve an expansion of the multi-billion-dollar Keystone line. It will pave the way for the transport of up to 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

Former President Barack Obama blocked permits for the route in 2015 under the aegis that the project would hurt the fight against climate change. Trump later signed an executive order approving both the Keystone XL Pipeline and the equally controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

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