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Spill in South Dakota


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By JAYNA SALVINSKI

The Mirror reporter

The controversial Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota has recently leaked about 200,000 gallons of oil into the environment and soaked into the ground. Although the spill was stopped within 15 minutes the amount of damage done has yet to be assessed.

The Keystone Pipeline is 2,687 miles long and runs from Canada into Nebraska and then splits in two, going to Illinois and Texas to transfer crude oil. The spill is said to have been caused by mechanical damage as it was being constructed back in 2008 by a weight put in place. Weights are installed in places where water pressure can change and make the pipeline float.

Environmental concerns have led to debate over the controversial pipeline which was approved by the Nebraska Public Service Commision.

The images of birds covered in oil have become a universal symbol of the environmental damage caused by oil spills.

Birds who become coated in oil will be unable to fly and will lose their natural waterproofing meaning they will be vulnerable to hypothermia or overheating granted the oil doesn’t choke or poison them first.

Oil spills can also damage a bird’s nesting ground during their mating season and can even discourage migrating birds from areas they normally stop.

Although not everyone prioritizes environmental preservation, oil spills also have an effect on the economy. Oil that is spilled and lost means less available gas which means it will have to be imported from other countries.

Clean up is also costly with notable oil spills in the past such as the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon clean up which was estimated at $62 million dollars and the 1989 Exxon Valdez at $3.8 million dollars with continuing lawsuits and settlements.

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Reflections of the SPASH Community
Spill in South Dakota