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Oil spill reported from Keystone pipeline in North Dakota

Posted at 6:07 AM, Oct 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 10:47:07-04

BISMARCK, N.D. — Oil flowing through the Keystone pipeline has spilled into a wetland in northwestern North Dakota, according to the state's Department of Environmental Quality.

The spill was reported Tuesday, shortly after it occurred, and is estimated to be 1,500 feet long and 15 feet wide in Walsh County, state officials said in a Wednesday news release.

The pipeline's owner, TC Energy, is working to determine the cause of volume of the release. North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality personnel are at the site and monitoring the investigation and remediation.

The pipeline is part of TC Energy's Keystone system that moves oil south from a terminal in Alberta, Canada. The line travels through North and South Dakota before connecting with another line in Nebraska.

TC Energy has proposed a separate pipeline through eastern Montana, known as the Keystone XL. At a public meeting in Billings this week, environmental groups and Montana tribal officials highlighted the possibility of oil spills fouling waterways as reasons to oppose that pipeline.

The Sierra Club released a statement in response to the spill:

"We don't yet know the extent of the damage from this latest tar sands spill, but what we do know is that this is not the first time this pipeline has spilled toxic tar sands, and it won't be the last. We've always said it's not a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but when, and once again TC Energy has made our case for us," said Catherine Collentine, Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels associate director.

TC Energy officials said they shut down the pipeline soon after they noticed a drop in pressure from the pipeline, according to the Grand Forks Herald.

This story was originally published by KTVQ in Billings, Montana.