Kansas Oil Spill Shuts Keystone Pipeline

    Photo: AP

    The Facts

    • The Keystone pipeline in the US has halted operations after more than 14K barrels of crude oil spilled into a creek in Kansas on Wednesday night. Federal safety regulators are investigating the cause, but no timeline has been given for restarting the pipeline.

    • Operated by Canada-based TC Energy, the more than 600K barrel-per-day pipeline ships heavy crude from Canada down to refiners in the US Texas Gulf Coast.

    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The federal government refuses to learn anything from the numerous past leaks. Though drastically underreported to the public, oil pipelines leak all the time and cause accidents every year in the US. Keystone was supposed to be the safest pipeline ever built in North America, but inadequate infrastructure and lack of political will continue to put people, wildlife, and the environment at increased risk.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    There are reasons countries struggle to tackle these industrial accidents – there’s no such thing as a spill-, accident-, or sabotage-proof way to transport oil in massive quantities. The only way to prevent oil ruptures from becoming ecological disasters is to invest significantly in advanced monitoring and build double-walled pipelines. A safer design with zero clean-up costs is the sole cost-effective and environment-friendly measure in the long run.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 5% chance that the Keystone Pipeline system will be extended by at least 100 km between US Pres. Joe Biden's inauguration and the end of 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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