Donald Trump has part ownership in the Keystone Pipeline, so it was no surprise that he okayed finishing it in North and South Dakota. Native Americans held vigil for months in the freezing temperatures to protest the pipeline adjacent to their lands. Now this.
The pipeline carries crude oil, some of the roughest and most environmentally damaging oil, across the center of the nation. Unfortunately, none of it belongs to the U.S. nor will the pipeline profit our country.
The most dangerous Keystone oil spill has flooded 210,000 gallons of oil into the earth and likely contaminated the groundwater. Yet, this was not the first leak, according to TransCanada, which manages the pipeline operation, CNN reported.
Prior to this spill, 16,800 spilled from the pipeline in April 2016, and there is no doubt that more spills will follow. The Keystone Pipeline system runs over 2,600 miles from Alberta, Canada down to Texas.
According to a spokesperson for South Dakota’s Department of Environment and National Resources, Brian Walsh, the leak happened three miles southeast of Amherst. The pipeline crews closed down the pipeline, and they have been investigating.
Walsh said they have been checking for “groundwater contamination:”
‘It is a below-ground pipeline, but some oil has surfaced above ground to the grass. It will be a few days until they can excavate and get in borings to see if there is groundwater contamination.’
A spokesperson said that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been monitoring the spill and was available with assistance and resources:
‘EPA is aware of the spill and is receiving periodic updates from the state of South Dakota, which is overseeing response activity at the spill site.’
The company that manages the pipeline said it had been working in tandem with federal and state agencies:
‘The safety of the public and environment are our top priorities and we will continue to provide updates as they become available.’
The spill happened adjacent to the Lake Traverse Reservation, which belongs to the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, according to tribal chairman, Dave Flute. He said the spill could leak into the pristine aquifer beneath the land:
‘We want to know how long is it going to take to dig this plume of contaminated soil and how can we be reassured, without a doubt, that it has not and will not seep into the aquifer.’
The tribal chairman wanted to understand what caused the spill:
‘We want to find out, was there a crack in the pipe? We don’t know. We want to get that information. More importantly, and to stay positive, they did clean up the site, they did contain it.’
Up to 10,000 people joined the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota to protest the pipeline for months. Toward the end of the protest, police fired rubber bullets into the crowd. One woman almost lost her arm in an explosion in November.
Rachel Rye Butler of Greenpeace, an environmental activist group, said the next link in the pipeline was in the works:
‘The Nebraska Public Service Commission needs to take a close look at this spill. A permit approval allowing Canadian oil company TransCanada to build Keystone XL is a thumbs-up to likely spills in the future.’
Featured Image via CNN Twitter Page.