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14,000-barrel oil spill in Kansas temporarily shuts down Keystone Pipeline

Natalie Wallington, The Kansas City Star on

Published in News & Features

An estimated 14,000 barrels of crude oil spilled from the Keystone Pipeline into Mill Creek near the city of Washington, Kansas, on Wednesday night.

“There is no threat or imminent danger to city utilities, and the City water supply remains safe and not in jeopardy,” Washington, Kansas officials wrote on the city’s website Thursday. The small city of around 1,065 people is located in north-central Kansas, around 175 miles northwest of Kansas City. The leak was outside city limits to the northeast.

TC Energy, which operates the pipeline, said that the oil has been contained.

“The affected segment has been isolated and we have contained downstream migration of the release,” the company wrote in a Thursday press release. “The system remains shutdown as our crews actively respond and work to contain and recover the oil.”

The 2,687 mile long Keystone Pipeline carries crude oil from Canada to refineries across the U.S, particularly in the Midwest. CNN reported Thursday that the pipeline’s overnight shutdown caused the price of oil to rise by around 5% before returning to normal levels.

Washington County’s emergency management department shared on social media that many residents awoke to the smell of gas Thursday morning.

The Sierra Club, a nationwide environmental advocacy organization, released statements Thursday condemning the spill and warning of the environmental risks posed by crude oil pipelines like Keystone.

 

“While the damages from this latest spill are still unknown, it will have an impact on this water source and surrounding areas,” said The Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels Director Catherine Collentine in a Thursday press release. “This is not the first time this pipeline has spilled and unfortunately we know all too well that it won’t be the last.”

Zack Pistora, a Kansas lobbyist for the Sierra Club, added that the pipeline has experienced 23 spills since 2012, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. Nine of these spills occurred in Missouri or Kansas.

“Beyond the devastation of pipeline spills, fossil fuels are causing air and atmospheric pollution and contaminating water supplies through fracking every single day,” Pistora told The Star.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has sent regulators to the site of the spill. Its cause is still under investigation.

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©2022 The Kansas City Star. Visit kansascity.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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