The pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, to Cushing, Oklahoma, and to Wood River and Patoka in IL, has been shut, while the southern leg of the system to the Gulf Coast remains operational, the company said.
The leak occurred just a few days before the Nebraska Public Service Commission is scheduled to make a November 20 announcement of its decision on whether to approve a permit to allow construction of the controversial long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline.
The company said that crews shut down the pipeline Thursday morning after a drop in pressure was detected resulting from an oil leak that's under investigation. In April 2016, TransCanada shut down the pipeline after a local resident reported seeing oil seeping to the surface in South Dakota.
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Amherst is about 200 miles north of Sioux Falls, S.D., and about 25 miles from the state's border with North Dakota. The substance flowing through the Keystone pipeline is known as diluted bitumen, or "dilbit", because the bitumen (the crude oil itself) is so thick and sticky it must be diluted in order to effectively flow through the system.
About 5,000 barrels of oil spilled Thursday.
The pipeline transports crude from Alberta, Canada, to refineries in IL and Oklahoma, passing through the eastern Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.
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The Keystone pipeline has leaked in South Dakota before, as recently as last spring. Moreover, in the years since TransCanada first proposed Keystone XL, a National Academy of Science study concluded that tar sands spills are much more damaging to the environment and hard to clean. President Donald Trump reversed that decision swiftly after taking office, which placed the final permitting decision in the hands of Nebraska.
The Keystone pipeline is part of a 2,687-mile system that also is to include the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
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