Oil leak shuts down portion of Keystone pipeline

Crews cleaning up Keystone Pipeline leak in Marshall County

Cleanup crews are responding to a spill of at least 5,000 barrels of oil from the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota that was reported Thursday morning to environmental regulators.

The Keystone pipeline has leaked more than 200,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota, the company for the project said on Thursday.

About 5,000 barrels of oil spilled Thursday.

This is the largest Keystone oil spill to date in South Dakota, said Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration didn't immediately return an email requesting additional information from The Associated Press.

TransCanada said at the time that the leak was the first detected on the pipeline since it began operating, though there had been leaks at pumping stations.

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The leak comes four days before Nebraska officials are scheduled to vote on whether to approve a 275-mile-long extension of the project through the state. It runs from Hardesty, Alberta, to Cushing, Okla., and Wood River/Patoka, Ill.

"Regulators in the neighboring state of Nebraska are expected to announce a decision on the company's proposed Keystone XL pipeline next week".

"We've always said it's not a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but when, and today TransCanada is making our case for us", said campaign director Kelly Martin.

Opponents of Keystone XL say the pipeline would pass through the Sandhills, an ecologically fragile region of grass-covered sand dunes, and would cross the land of farmers and ranchers who don't want it.

Almost a year after the Dakota Access pipeline leaked 176,000 gallons of oil near the Standing Rock protest site in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, a similar disaster is unfolding to the south.

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