Keystone Spills 200,000 Gallons of Tar Sands Crude, Could Affect Keystone XL Vote Monday

The Keystone Pipeline is in dark red, Keystone XL is in green. (Wikimedia Commons)

The current Keystone pipeline that runs from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska spilled 5,000 barrels, or more than 200,000 gallons of tar sands crude oil this morning, according to accounts in the Washington Post and other media outlets.

The spill occurred just southeast of the small town of Amherst in northeast South Dakota, affecting either grasslands or agricultural land, the story said.

This gives pipeline opponents one more example to use to try to stop other major projects, such as Keystone XL and Enbridge Line 3 through northern Minnesota.

A story in the Atlantic described the Keystone as a 1,100-mile-long pipeline that links oil fields in Alberta, Canada, to the large crude-trading hubs in Patoka, Illinois, and Cushing, Oklahoma. … It was completed in 2011.”

Keystone is the older sibling to the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline proposal, which still awaits final approvals. (See map.) TransCanada, a Canadian-based pipeline company, is behind both projects.

During his term, former President Obama rejected Keystone XL. But President Trump quickly reversed that, issuing an executive order to approve it. As the Post reports, the project still needs the approval of the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC). It just so happens the PSC had scheduled a key vote on Keystone XL for Monday.

Activists are citing today’s spill as one more reason to reject Keystone XL.

As a story by CNN summarizes:

The approval [by Trump] followed years of intense debate over the pipeline amid hefty opposition from environmental groups, who argued the pipeline supports the extraction of crude oil from oil sands, which pumps about 17% more greenhouse gases than standard crude oil extraction. Environmentalists also opposed the pipeline because it would cut across the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the world’s largest underground deposits of fresh water.

Tar sands oil is much thicker and stickier than traditional oil, significantly complicating cleanup efforts. The fact it’s thicker also means it needs to be combined with other hazardous materials to allow it to be transported in pipelines.
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Walz Chooses Flanagan as Lt. Governor Candidate; Dakota 38 Screening in St. Paul; Tar Sands Pipeline Stopped in Canada

News and Events:

DFL candidate for governor Tim Walz picks Peggy Flanagan, state representative from Twin Cities, as running mate. The Star Tribune reports:

The DFL congressman from Mankato [Walz] plans to introduce Flanagan to supporters Saturday at the Minneapolis American Indian Center, the first candidate for governor in 2018 from either party to select a running mate.

Flanagan, 38, is a two-term lawmaker from the western Twin Cities metro with deep roots in DFL activism. If Flanagan becomes lieutenant governor, she would be the state’s first American Indian elected to statewide office, and the highest ranking elected American Indian woman in U.S. history.

Dakota 38 Screening and Dialogue in St. Paul, Free and Open to the Public

On Thursday, October 12, the Center for Equity and Culture of St. Paul Public Schools is hosting a screening and panel discussion of the film, Dakota 38. There will be riders and other members of the Dakota community here to speak on historical trauma and efforts being made to heal – both personally and in community. Panelists include Lisa Bellanger, Vanessa Goodthunder, Winona Goodthunder, Reuben Kitto Stately and Ramona Kitto Stately.

Join us at from 5:30-8:30 this Thursday, October 12 at the CEC, Washington Technology Magnet, 1495 Rice St., St. Paul, MN 55117. The even is free and open to the public.  For more information visit our website at spps.org/cec or call us at 651-744-2635.

TransCanada abandons Energy East, Eastern Mainline projects. The BBC reports that TransCanada has abandoned two major Canadian tar sands crude oil pipeline projects: Energy East Pipeline and Eastern Mainline projects. The story said that these project were an effort to “diversify its reliance on the United States for its energy exports.?

But a number of proposed projects have languished or been cancelled amid a commodity price slump, regulatory hurdles, and public opposition from environmentalist groups and others.

Comment: If the Canadians don’t want a tar sands crude oil pipeline in their backyard, why should Minnesota take the risk?