The owner of a pipeline that ruptured and released enough heavy crude oil to fill 14,000 bathtubs’ worth of bathtubs into a creek in northeastern Kansas said on Friday that U.S. federal officials had given the go-ahead for reopening the repaired section.
This process will take a few days, the business stated in a statement. The protection of people and the environment will always come first.
The Keystone pipeline system, which runs from Steele City, near the Nebraska-Kansas border, to Cushing, in northern Oklahoma, is owned by Canadian company TC Energy. The business stated that it will continue to have crews working and performing “rigorous testing and inspections” through the Christmas break.
Some 14,000 barrels of petroleum were spilled into a creek that meandered through rural pastureland in Washington County, about 150 miles (240 kilometres) northwest of Kansas City, as a result of the leak on December 7, which compelled the firm to shut down the Keystone system. Each barrel holds 42 gallons, or about as much as a standard bathtub.
The majority of the 2,700-mile (4,345-kilometer) Keystone system was reopened last week by TC Energy. The system transports crude oil from western Canadian tar sands to the Gulf Coast. A spur also transports crude to south-central Illinois.
No one was evacuated, according to the company and government officials, and drinking water supplies were unaffected. However, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment discovered chemicals from the leak downstream past two earthen dams built to confine the oil, potentially threatening animals who ingest it, Kansas City’s KCUR-FM reported this week.
According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Kansas leak was the biggest onshore in nine years and more than all 22 prior incidents on the Keystone system put together. The Department of Transportation’s pipeline safety division granted the corporation authorization to reopen the pipeline that runs across Kansas and into northern Oklahoma.
Opposition to proposals by TC Energy to construct a second crude oil pipeline in the same system, the 1,200-mile (1,900-kilometer) Keystone XL, across Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska was motivated by worries that spills could contaminate waterways. The project’s permission was revoked by President Joe Biden, which prompted the corporation to abandon it last year.
The corporation has not determined what caused the incident in Kansas. According to Zack Pistora, a Sierra Club lobbyist at the Kansas Statehouse, the pipeline segment shouldn’t reopen until the cause has been identified. He asked in a Friday interview, “Isn’t the next spill just a disaster waiting to happen?”
The company claimed to have removed the damaged pipeline segment and submitted it to an outside laboratory for inspection. Additionally, it reported that it had recovered nearly 7,600 barrels of oil, or little over half of what had leaked. The state’s policy of exempting businesses from local property taxes for 10 years if they build pipelines through Kansas in order to promote energy development is being questioned by some Democrats in the Republican-controlled Legislature. The policy was “a tremendous mistake,” Democratic Governor Laura Kelly told The Topeka Capital-Journal in an interview last week, adding it should have been reviewed “a long time ago.”
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