BISMARCK, N.D. — Federal regulators have ordered the Keystone pipeline to remain shut down until its Canadian owner takes corrective action aimed at determining the cause of a breach that leaked an estimated 383,000 gallons of oil in northeastern North Dakota.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued the order Tuesday to Calgary, Alberta-based TC Energy. The action comes one week after the pipeline leak was discovered and affected about 22,500 square feet of land near Edinburg, in Walsh County.
The pipeline has been shut down since Oct. 29. It 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.
The order requires the company to send the affected portion of the 30-inch steel pipeline to an independent laboratory for testing. The company also must develop a plan to restart the line and for remediation.
TC Energy, formerly known as TransCanada, said in a statement it expects to have the damaged portion of the pipeline excavated this week. The company said it has about 200 people at the site working around the clock who are “focused on cleanup and remediation activities.”
“We’re continuing to monitor air quality around the site and the surrounding area throughout cleanup, with no concerns,” TC Energy said.
Karl Rockeman, North Dakota’s water quality division director, said Wednesday about 252,000 gallons of crude oil have been recovered. Rockeman said some wetlands were affected, but not any sources of drinking water.
The pipeline spill and shutdown come as the company seeks to build the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, through Nebraska to refineries in Texas. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline has drawn opposition from people who fear it will cause environmental damage.
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March 23, 1913: Omaha Easter tornado
An estimated 103 people were killed and 350 injured in the Omaha area when the tornado struck with no warning on a warm Easter Sunday. About 750 of Omaha’s more than 2,000 damaged houses were destroyed. The tornado — now categorized by the National Weather Service as an F4 storm with 166- to 200-mph winds — was part of the most catastrophic outbreak of tornadoes in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa history. More photos.
Here, people stand at 2410 Lake St. after the tornado.
Nebraskans experienced the worst of the Dust Bowl in July 1936. The state experienced scorching heat, with Omaha hitting 114 degrees. The city recorded 35 days that year with temperatures of 100 degrees or higher. Air conditioning was not yet common and people slept outdoors to catch a breeze.
Here, a dust storm approaches Naponee, Nebraska, in 1935. The large building is the First Congregational Church.
One of the worst blizzards on record suffocated all but southeast Nebraska. The region’s economy teetered on the edge of collapse as ceaseless winds and fresh snow defied efforts to keep roads and rail lines clear. Livestock by the tens of thousands died of starvation and exposure. Whole towns rationed food, and some residents burned furniture for household fuel.
Here, Vincent McKeown stands beside his car in a 20-foot deep snow canyon made by plows on Highway 275 10 miles west of Norfolk, Nebraska.
Melting from a heavy winter snowfall led to widespread flooding across eastern Nebraska. Rivers were already swollen when rain, followed by up to 9 inches of snow, swept the area April 1.
Here, H.H. Lallman (foreground), 71, chats with Chris Martinsen, 77 and Johanna Keilstrup in Winslow, Nebraska during Elkhorn River flooding.
Jan. 10-11, 1975: Blizzard
The storm raged across eastern Nebraska and caused deaths in five states. Omaha had just an inch of snow on the ground at 6 a.m. Jan. 10, but by 9 a.m. the city had declared a snow emergency. At one point an estimated 10,000 vehicles were stuck, stalled or abandoned in Omaha. Winds reached 60 mph, creating drifts as high as 10 feet. More than a foot of snow fell. More photos.
Seen here are vehicles stalled on 72nd Street south of Dodge.
May 6, 1975: Omaha tornado
An F4 tornado with winds of more than 200 mph tore through a nine-mile-long section of Omaha, killing three people and injuring more than 100. Early detection, aided by storm spotters, helped prevent greater loss of life. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2013 ranked the damage as the eighth worst tornado in U.S. history at an inflation-adjusted cost of more than $1 billion. Read more.
Here, an aerial view of the Westgate area is seen on May 7, 1975.
Oct. 26, 1997: Early snowstorm
Heavy, wet snow fell on still-leafy trees across southeastern Nebraska, resulting in downed tees, limbs and power lines. Streets were blocked, and houses and cars were damaged. The storm killed an estimated 3 percent of the Omaha-area’s trees and damaged another 30 to 35 percent. More photos.
Seen here is a snow-covered street and crushed trees near Miller Park in Omaha on Oct. 26, 1997.
June 22, 2003: Super-sized hailstone
Aric Brophy, left, of Aurora, Nebraska, raced outdoors to retrieve a hailstone and impress his kids. He came back with the then-largest hailstone on record for the U.S.: 7 inches across and 18.75 inches around.
Summer 2011: Missouri River flooding
Heavy snowmelt and record spring rains in the upper part of the Missouri River watershed overwhelmed levees and imperiled the six massive dams that control the Missouri’s flow. Flooding lasted four months and caused billions of dollars in damage.
U.S. Highway 136 is seen here running east of Brownville, Nebraska, over the Missouri River channel and into flooded Missouri farmland on July 15, 2011.
Aug. 4, 2016: Lake Manawa waterspout
A long and lanky waterspout formed over Lake Manawa about 5:30 p.m., mesmerizing the many people in the metro area who saw it. After waltzing on the lake for 10 minutes or so, it broke apart. A spectacular sight, the tornado was harmless, because it had anchored itself to the lake. Had it not occurred in a populated area, the waterspout’s existence would have gone unrecorded. That’s because it was a rare tornado that formed independent of a supercell thunderstorm. It was so weak and out of place that it didn’t show up on radar, nor did it leave a trail of damage. More photos.
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