Keystone pipeline restarts after oil leak

Keystone pipeline restarts after oil leak
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Operators of the Keystone oil pipeline resumed pumping this weekend after shutting down the pipeline for repairs for nearly a week. 

Officials discovered a leak in Keystone outside of Freeman, South Dakota, last week, forcing TransCanada to shut down the pipeline and conduct repairs. Officials say about 17,000 gallons of oil leaked from the pipeline, more than the company’s initial estimates. 

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TransCanada restarted the pipeline this weekend, but at reduced pressure, after receiving approval from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on Saturday. The company will be conducting aerial patrols and visual inspections of the leak site along the way, Reuters reports

“As part of the return-to-service plan approved by PHMSA, TransCanada is operating the pipeline at reduced pressure,” the company said in a statement.

The 3,000-mile Keystone pipeline carries crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to oil facilities in Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas.  

TransCanada has tried for years to extend the pipeline, but President Obama in November rejected its application to do so. Environmentalists had warned about the potential for a spill along an extended route, and they criticized the pipeline last week for its leak. 

“South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers should know they can maintain their family operations without threat of bursting pipelines and oil spills,” Dakota Rural Action said in a statement last week.