For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722,
Alex Moore, 202-222-0733,


Tar Sands Oil Pipeline Spills in North Dakota

Latest spill from TransCanada Keystone I pipeline adds to mounting concerns over safety of proposed Keystone XL

WASHINGTON - A TransCanada pipeline that carries tar sands oil into the U.S. from Canada had to be shut down for inspection Saturday after spilling about 21,000 gallons of tar sands oil in southeastern North Dakota, according to news reports.

The spill underscored safety concerns raised about TransCanada’s proposal to build a larger tar sands oil pipeline across the U.S., the Keystone XL. The proposal is currently under review by the Obama administration.

According to eyewitnesses, Saturday’s rupture of the Keystone I pipeline sent a six-story high gusher of oil into the air. The spill occurred at a pumping station, but the spray contaminated soil and water in a nearby field before it could be contained.

“TransCanada’s first tar sands oil pipeline into the U.S. has sustained spill after spill,” said Alex Moore, dirty fuels campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “Nobody should have to wake up on a Saturday morning to the sight of oil spraying sixty feet into the air near her home.”

The tar sands oil spill in North Dakota is the 12th spill from the Keystone I pipeline in just its first year of operation.

The spill is likely to heighten the concerns of landowners along the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Keystone XL project would carry 900,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day from Canada to Texas, crossing several major rivers, abundant farmland, and the nation’s largest aquifer, the Ogallala.

“The Obama administration must investigate this serious pipeline spill and keep the current public comment period on the Keystone XL proposal open until that investigation is complete,” Moore added. “The evidence for why the Keystone XL project must be stopped continues to mount.”


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