TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline permit under analysis by federal, state regulators

Published: Nov. 22, 2017 at 7:18 PM CST
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Last week's Keystone Pipeline oil leak has caused some concern with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. An analysis is being done to see if TransCanada violated any conditions in its license for the pipeline, which could have some serious consequences. ​

TransCanada received a permit for the Keystone Pipeline back in 2008.

"The 57 conditions that the Public Utilities Commission put on the permit for Keystone deal with operation of the pipeline, emergency response, construction of the pipeline, environmental, making sure they adhere to all the laws," Public Utilities Commission Chairperson Kristie Fiegen said.

Federal regulators and South Dakota's Department of Environment and Natural Resources are currently analyzing the section of the pipeline that leaked.

"It's a lot like the auto industry. The auto industry has recalls, [it] doesn’t mean the cars are pulled off the street, it means they need to fix the problem and in the pipeline, we need to make sure the problems are fixed and if there’s any type of violations to the conditions," Fiegen said.

TransCanada is aware of the investigation and released an official statement to KSFY:

"We are confident that the Keystone pipeline system has been constructed and operated in compliance with the conditions imposed by the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission when it issued and subsequently re-certified the Certificate for the pipeline system. We are cooperating with South Dakota PUC officials and other regulatory agencies including PHMSA and the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources as we work to investigate the cause of this incident and move forward to repair the pipeline and remediate the site."

Crews at the Amherst site started excavating dirt on Monday and have made quite a bit of progress with the cleanup.

"Our crews are in there removing the oil with different types of equipment and what we can tell you is we’ve removed over 24,000 gallons of oil to date. We’re also working on excavating certain sections to help with that oil removal. We hope to start excavation of the pipe in the next coming days," TransCanada Public Information Officer Jacquelynn Benson said.

The PUC expect to have an initial report on the Keystone Pipeline portion with a few weeks, but it could take months before knowing if a violation happened or not. If one is found, the permit could be suspended.