Some of the worst fears and dire predictions of opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline came true on Thursday when pipeline owner TransCanada announced that more than 200,000 gallons of oil had spilled from the existing portion of the Keystone system in Marshall County, South Dakota.
While the company reported the spill in a public statement, Buzzfeed notes there was an approximately four-and-a-half hour gap between when the company said the breach was discovered at 6:00 am and when local officials say they were notified at 10:30 am. As a South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources told the news outlet, “We’re not quite sure why there was a time gap in there.”
Outside of the company’s statement, there has been no outside or independent verification of the size of the spill or details about the scale of the possible damage.
Those who had warned against the pipeline’s approval for precisely these reasons and continue to work tirelessly to prevent the construction of the Keystone XL (KXL) project, were among the first to respond to Thursday’s spill.
“With their horrible safety record, today’s spill is just the latest tragedy caused by the irresponsible oil company TransCanada,” said Ben Schreiber, senior political strategist at Friends of the Earth. “We cannot let the world’s fossil fuel empires continue to drive government policy toward climate catastrophe. The only safe solution for oil and fossil fuels is to keep them in the ground.”
Rachel Rye Butler, an anti-tarsands campaigner with Greenpeace, noted that Thursday’s spill comes just days before the Nebraska Public Service Commission is set to decide on state approval for Keystone XL, which was ultimately rejected under President Obama but given a greenlight earlier this year by the Trump administration. “The writing on the wall to reject this pipeline could not be more clear,” Butler said in a statement. “These pipelines are bound to spill, and they put communities, precious drinking water, and our climate at risk.”
While we do not need more evidence to show us that pipelines are dangerous and must be stopped, more keeps coming. https://t.co/8PelLe6fLb
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 16, 2017
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