An environmental law center has some questions about TransCanada’s ability to respond to a pipeline rupture on the Great Plains in a new report released Nov. 23 in Lincoln. Plains Justice, based in Billings, Mont., based its report on the Canadian oil company’s emergency response plan for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline currently under consideration by the U.S. State Department. The 60-page report cites the remote location of the pipeline and lack of major commercial centers as primary concerns, two factors that didn’t affect clean-up in recent oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico and the Kalamazoo River. According to Plains Justice, the Kalamazoo, Mich. spill in July required the use of 175 heavy spill response trucks, 43 boats and 48 oil skimmers. TransCanada has provided Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota each with one truck, two boats and two oil skimmers. In Nebraska the pipeline would cross the Niobrara and North Platte Rivers and run through the heart of the Ogallala Aquifer — the state’s largest source of drinking and irrigation water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The U.S. State Department is expected to reach a decision on whether or not to approve the pipeline early next year.


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