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Two Pipelines Shut Down After 43 Barrels of Crude Leak into Missouri Soil

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Part of the Keystone pipeline in Nebraska. shannonpatrick17 / CC BY 2.0

Parts of two pipelines owned by controversial Canadian pipeline companies remained shut down Thursday following the discovery of a leak near St. Louis, Missouri on Wednesday, CBC News reported.

Both TransCanada's Keystone pipeline and Enbridge's Platte pipeline run parallel to each other through the area. The Keystone pipeline, which carries 590,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Alberta, has faced opposition from environmental activists in the area because it transports from Alberta's tar sands.


"[Leaks] are one more reason on top of climate change to show that tar sands are dangerous and should not be running through our state," Missouri Sierra Club Director John Hickey told St. Louis Public Radio. Residents are also worried the poor quality of the pipeline's steel makes leaks more likely, Hickey said.

The leak was discovered by a TransCanada technician 7:14 a.m. Wednesday. The technician found crude oil covering some 4,000 square feet around the pipeline in St. Charles County, Missouri. TransCanada said it was not sure how much oil had leaked, but thought it was around 43 barrels. The company said it was not yet possible to tell if the leak came from the Keystone or neighboring Enbridge pipeline.

"Until you can excavate and see the top of the pipes, you can't really determine which pipeline the release occurred from," TransCanada Public Information Officer Matthew John told St. Louis Public Radio.

Part of the Enbridge Platte pipeline, which carries 164,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Casper to Guernsey, Wyoming and 145,000 barrels a day from Guernsey to Wood River, Illinois, is also shut down.

"The release was reported in a location near several oil pipelines operated by several different companies, including one that is operated by Express Holdings (USA), LLC, an Enbridge affiliate," Enbridge said in a statement emailed to CBC News. "As such, personnel are onsite and working with those companies to identify the source of the oil and begin cleanup efforts. The oil is contained on the site."

Missouri Department of Natural Resources Environmental Emergency Response also responded to the spill, and section head Brad Harris told St. Louis Public Radio that the spill did not threaten any waterways or endangered species.

"We were very fortunate in the fact that there's a natural containment the oil resides," Harris said.

The pipeline closures caused the price of Canadian crude oil to fall Thursday, Bloomberg News reported. There is increased demand for Canadian oil at U.S. refineries in the Gulf due to sanctions on Venezuela. However, Alberta also had to lower oil production in January because of pipeline congestion, CBC News reported.

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