A rupture in the planned Keystone XL project would be a “nightmare scenario,” with the potential to release as much as 7 million barrels of oil into the Yellowstone River, a report by John Stansbury, an environmental engineer at the University of Nebraska, found.
TransCanada, which owns the pipeline, downplays the potential impacts of a spill, the report asserts, and is overly optimistic about how long it would take to stop a leak. Stansbury predicts a possibility of as many as 91 serious oil spills in 50 years if the project is permitted to go forward. Such a leak could take up to an hour to stop if detected immediately, but holds the possibility of going undetected for days or weeks on end.
The a rupture in the pipeline—which would carry the especially dirty tar sands crude from Canada—places key water sources in danger because of its proximity to major rivers the report warns, echoing an earlier assessmentmade by Nebraska scientists that found that 64% of the state’s groundwater lay within 1 mile of the project.