Lawmakers fear spill along Keystone system

An increase in small earthquakes have led Kansas lawmakers to fret about the vulnerability of a Keystone pipeline, which runs through the state. A Keystone pipeline ruptured in December, creating the largest U.S. onshore spill in nearly nine years.


State News

March 15, 2023 - 2:35 PM

Crews from Canadian pipeline operator TC Energy work to remediate the site of a December oil spill from the Keystone Pipeline in northern Kansas on Friday, Dec. 30. Photo by TC Energy/TNS

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — State lawmakers worried Tuesday that southern Kansas is vulnerable to oil spills from the Keystone pipeline system because earthquakes have become more frequent there, as they questioned an executive for the pipeline’s operator about a massive spill in northeastern Kansas in December.

Gary Salsman, a vice president for field operations for Canada-based TC Energy, was briefing three Kansas legislative committees about the Dec. 7 rupture on the Keystone pipeline in Washington County, Kansas, about 150 miles northwest of Kansas City. It was the largest U.S. onshore spill in nearly nine years, and the company expects to spend $480 million cleaning it up, with those efforts lasting at least into the summer.

Salsman told a joint meeting of the Kansas House energy committee and its water committee that safety is TC Energy’s top priority and that the company will stay in Washington County until the cleanup is complete. He later gave a similar briefing to the Senate Utilities Committee.

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