Crews cleaning up Keystone Pipeline leak in Marshall County

Monday, 20 Nov, 2017

"We had some educated people, engineers and that sort of thing that said thin wall, high pressure, hazardous liquid pipelines and then slamming it in the way they did and putting cement weights on it to hold in down in the water they were putting it in, in the trenches, they said how can something like this not happen?"

The leak is the third and largest spill in the region since 2011 and comes just days before regulators in neighboring Nebraska decide whether to approve another controversial TransCanada pipeline, the Keystone XL.

Walsh said the spill had not impacted any bodies of water on the surface, meaning oil "won't be traveling along a river or a creek".

Under the act, commissioners are precluded from considering pipeline safety or the possibility of leaks in their rulings.

Premier Rachel Notley is standing by the safety of pipelines to transport oil despite a 795,000-litre spill on the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota earlier this week.

"It's our position that the statute is unconstitutionally vague because of the fact that you can't consider natural resources impacts without considering spills", Winston said.

Those who had warned against the pipeline's approval for precisely these reasons and continue to worked tirelessly to prevent the construction of the Keystone XL (KXL) project, were among the first to respond to Thursday's spill.

About 75 TransCanada workers and contractors were at the site on Friday, along with federal and state regulators, to begin a lengthy cleanup that will include the excavation of part of the pipeline.

According to TransCanada the pipeline was shut off within 15 minutes, but the largest leak in the Keystone's history had already occurred.

The Keystone Pipeline has transported over 1.5 billion barrels since 2010. In 2010, the first year it was in use, there were 35 Keystone leaks in the USA and Canada.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission is expected to announce their decision on Monday. "But this most recent spill underscores the need for tribal rights to be fully considered and protected by the federal trustee". The Keystone XL pipeline has undergone two such studies, one of which was conducted by the State Department in 2014 and one of which was conducted by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality in 2012. The Calgary-based firm is hoping to secure a permit for a long-delayed sister pipeline called Keystone XL.

The S.D. environmental official McIntosh also told the NY Times that the leak of 210,000 gallons was not substantial and that the area was rural, which is "very positive". TransCanada, the pipeline's owner has admitted that 5,000 barrels of oil, or 800,000 liters (210,000 gallons), has escaped.

Despite the fact that spill risks can not be considered by the Public Service Commission, opponents of the pipeline are hopeful that the commission will choose to deny the pipeline for suite of other reasons.

Cunha said a drainage ditch near the leak was protected by a berm and not polluted by the spill.