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TransCanada Crews Start Excavating Process For Spill Site


Around 75 TransCanada crew members are working to excavate the pipeline oil spill site in northeast South Dakota near Amherst.

Over 200,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from the Keystone pipeline. TransCanada says it shut down the pipeline after noticing a drop in pressure.

TransCanada officials say they’ve controlled the pipeline leak and the spill is not a threat to public safety. They say crews are working around the clock to manage the site.

Four experts from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have also been deployed to the site of the spill.

Meanwhile, one state lawmaker is raising concern about ground conditions during the pipeline construction process.

Democrat Susan Wismer represents District One in northeast South Dakota, which encompasses Marshall County where the spill occurred. She says Marshall County experienced some wet years before and during construction of the Keystone pipeline. She says she hopes the last several dry years didn’t cause the pipeline leak.

“I’m hoping that it’s not something caused by changing ground conditions. I’m hoping it’s something unique—a one time construction or material failure,” Wismer says. “We don’t want to see something that could be repeated along other parts of the pipeline.”

Wismer says she’ll feel better once the company determines what caused the leak.

This isn’t the largest pipeline spill in South Dakota history, according to state officials. Brian Walsh with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources says the Williams pipeline spilled more than 5,000 barrels of oil near Renner in the early 90’s.

Crude from Alberta, Canada, leaked from the Keystone pipeline. State officials aren’t sure whether it’s oil from the Canadian tar sands or not.