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TransCanada could lose South Dakota Keystone permit

TransCanada Keystone oil pipeline By shannonpatrick17 from Swanton, Nebraska, U.S.A. (Trans Canada Keystone Oil Pipeline) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
TransCanada Keystone oil pipeline By shannonpatrick17 from Swanton, Nebraska, U.S.A. (Trans Canada Keystone Oil Pipeline) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

TransCanada’s permit to operate the Keystone crude oil pipeline in South Dakota could be revoked by state regulators, according to Reuters.

An initial probe into the recent major spill on the pipeline has yet to reveal its findings, but if it’s discovered that TransCanada violated its license, the state regulators will consider cancelling the company’s permit to operate in South Dakota.

The Keystone pipeline linking Alberta’s oil sands with US refineries spilt around 5,000 barrels worth of oil in rural northeastern South Dakota last week. TransCanada told the Post Gazette that they believed the 210,000 gallon pipeline leak was a “sudden and immediate” event. According to the Gazette, Erik Tatarchuk, a TransCanada vice-president, told a Marshall County Commission meeting that it was unlikely oil leaked long enough to soak into the soil.

Exactly what caused the leak is still under investigation.

The spill in Marshall County was the third from the Keystone pipeline in under ten years. Launched in 2010, the pipeline has a planned service life of a century.

“We are waiting to see what the forensic analysis comes back with to see if any of our conditions were violated,” Kristie Fiegen, chair of the three-person South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, told Reuters, adding a violation could lead to a suspension or cancellation of the permit.

Reuters reports that the South Dakota PUC issued the Keystone permit in 2007 with 57 conditions, ranging from construction standards to environmental requirements. It can revoke or suspend it if the company is found to have made misstatements in its application or does not comply with the conditions.

TransCanada Keystone oil pipeline By shannonpatrick17 from Swanton, Nebraska, U.S.A. (Trans Canada Keystone Oil Pipeline) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons