Pallone Seeks Answers After Keystone Pipeline Spill in Kansas
WASHINGTON — Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is looking for answers after a rupture in the Keystone Pipeline released nearly 588,000 gallons of oil into a Kansas waterway.
The Dec. 7 spill was the largest in the pipeline’s history and third in just the past five years. The other recent spills were in North Dakota and South Dakota.
The latest incident is also the largest onshore oil pipeline spill in nine years.
Officials had said the cleanup could take weeks or months, even with a crew of hundreds working through the holidays on repairs.
Since 2010, the pipeline, which is operated by the TC Energy Corporation of Calgary, Canada, has had at least 22 oil spills, and that’s just too much for Pallone, who will be replaced as chair by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., in the next Congress.
“The Keystone Pipeline has continued to exhibit a pattern of oil spills and safety incidents that put public health and safety at risk,” Pallone wrote in a letter to TC Energy President and CEO François Poirier.
“Therefore, I request that TC Energy provide a formal plan for preventing further oil spills and for remediating the significant damage caused by this most recent incident,” he said.
In addition to damaging property and polluting a local waterway, the incident hurt American companies and consumers by increasing the price of crude oil during intra-day trading.
According to a 2021 Government Accountability Office report requested by Pallone and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., at least six of the 22 spills the pipeline has experienced since 2010 have “impacted” people or the environment.
The latest spill coated at least an acre of uphill pasture land on farmer Bill Pannbacker’s land outside the city of Washington, Kansas, an area known for producing wheat, corn, soybeans and cattle.
The land is now blackened with diluent bitumen, one of the thickest of crude oils. It was in the process of being transported from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico for international sale when the leak occurred.