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Keystone pipeline leaks oil in northeastern North Dakota

(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

BISMARCK — A pipeline that carries tar sands oil from Canada through seven states has leaked an unknown amount of crude oil in northeastern North Dakota, the state’s top environmental regulator said Wednesday.

State Environmental Quality Chief Dave Glatt told The Associated Press that regulators were notified late Tuesday night of the leak near Edinburg, in Walsh County. Glatt said pipeline owner TC Energy shut down the pipeline after the leak was detected. The cause and size of the spill are under investigation.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company formerly known as TransCanada did not immediately respond to phone messages seeking comment Wednesday.

Glatt said state regulators were expected to be at the scene Wednesday afternoon. Some wetlands appeared to be affected, but not any sources of drinking water, he said.

“We’re seeing some soil staining but I’m reluctant to say how widespread it is,” Glatt said.

Crude oil began flowing through the $5.2 billion pipeline in 2010. It is part of a system that also is to include the proposed $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline designed to transport the oil from western Canada to terminals on the Gulf Coast.

Earlier Tuesday, the U.S. State Department held the sole public meeting on a new environmental review of the long-stalled proposal. A federal judge blocked it last year, saying more environmental study was needed.

The original Keystone is designed to carry crude oil across Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri on the way to refineries in Patoka, Illinois, and Cushing, Oklahoma. It has experienced problems with spills in the past, including one in 2011 of more than 14,000 gallons of oil in southeastern North Dakota, near the South Dakota border.

In 2017, the pipeline leaked an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil onto agricultural land in northeastern South Dakota, in a rural area near the North Dakota border.

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