In news that should shock approximately no one, the embattled Keystone Pipeline leaked 210,000 gallons of oil Thursday in Marshall County, South Dakota.
TransCanada, the pipeline's operator, said the section of pipeline was shut down within 15 minutes of discovering the spill. "The safety of the public and environment are our top priorities and we will continue to provide updates as they become available."
This is, of course, the same company that ignored and resisted massive protests against the pipeline expansion known as Keystone XL. Protests have been going on for years, both by envrionmentalists and tribes, over concerns about the pipeline's impact on the climate, as well as on land and water. Keystone carries tar sands oil from Canada through the U.S., and it comes from a particularly destructive source of fuel. Climate scientist James Hansen wrote that "Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history.... If we turn to these dirtiest of fuels, instead of finding ways to phase out our addiction to fossil fuels, there is no hope of keeping carbon concentrations below 500 p.p.m. — a level that would, as earth’s history shows, leave our children a climate system that is out of their control."
Hansen wrote this in 2012, back when Donald Trump was just a lowbrow reality TV star and there was still hope of shuttering Keystone XL for good. Obama did eventually deny TransCanada's permit, but in March, that lowbrow reality TV star reversed Obama's decision. This spill comes just four days before a final decison on the pipeline's permit is expected from Nebraska state regulators, and groups opposing it say this is exactly why the pipeline should not go forward.
“With an approval decision still to be made, hopefully the Nebraska Public Service Commission is paying close attention to this spill and what it means for the future," said Eliot Bostar, Nebraska League of Conservation Voters Executive Director. "While unfortunately it’s too late to prevent this terrible spill in South Dakota, it’s not too late to protect Nebraska's families, farms, and communities from paying the same price.”