LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Discovery of a 210,000-gallon oil leak from the Keystone pipeline would seem to be poor timing four days before regulators in Nebraska decide whether to allow a major expansion of the system, but officials say state law does not allow pipeline safety to be a factor in their decision.
The Nebraska Public Service Commission was scheduled to rule Monday if a Keystone XL expansion pipeline proposed by TransCanada Corp. can cross the state. The commission’s decision is the last major regulatory hurdle for a project that has faced numerous local, state and federal reviews and lawsuits since it was announced in 2008.
Keystone operator TransCanada Corp. shut down the existing pipeline early Thursday morning and workers were testing to determine the cause of the spill on agricultural land in Marshall County, South Dakota, near the North Dakota border, about 250 miles (402 kilometers) west of Minneapolis.
State and company officials said the spill was not a threat to waterways or drinking water, but critics were quick to use the leak as an example of what they see as the risks to the environment.
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