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Keystone Pipeline shut down over oil leak in Kansas

The Keystone Pipeline is temporarily shut down after a leak was discovered feeding into a creek in northern Kansas. File Photo by Larry W. Smith/EPA
The Keystone Pipeline is temporarily shut down after a leak was discovered feeding into a creek in northern Kansas. File Photo by Larry W. Smith/EPA

Dec. 8 (UPI) -- The Keystone Pipeline is temporarily shut down after a leak was discovered feeding into a creek in northern Kansas.

TC Energy, the company that controls the pipeline, said the shutdown was initiated at about 8 p.m. CST on Wednesday after a drop in pressure was detected. The leak was found pouring oil into a creek in Washington County, Kan.

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The location of the leak is about 20 miles south of Steele City, Neb. Steele City is where the second phase of the pipeline begins.

"We are proceeding to make appropriate notifications, including to our customers and regulators and will work cooperatively with third parties to effectively respond to this incident," said a statement from TC Energy.

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"Our primary focus right now is the health and safety of onsite staff and personnel, the surrounding community, and mitigating risk to the environment through the deployment of booms downstream as we work to contain and prevent further migration of the release."

TC Energy crews isolated the area of the leak and are attempting to contain and "recover" the oil.

The Keystone Pipeline stretches approximately 2,687 miles, transporting crude oil from Canada and the United States throughout North America. It begins in Hardisty, Alberta, Canada, through Steele City to Cushing, Okla., and Patoka, Ill. The stretch to Cushing continues to Port Arthur, Texas.

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The pipeline has been controversial since its inception, drawing resistance from environmentalists and tribes whose land it was constructed on. Concerns about oil spills and harm to the land was the chief concern. It became a lightning rod issue and fodder for campaigns for the past decade.

Tuesday evening's leak is only the latest incident where oil has spilled from the pipeline. In 2016, a leak poured about 400 barrels of crude oil in South Dakota. In 2017, another 9,600 barrels of oil leaked again in South Dakota. In 2019, the pipeline was ruptured in North Dakota, spilling 9,120 barrels.

TC Energy has not shared what the extent of cleanup efforts will be or how long it will take.

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