PIERRE, S.D. A South Dakota official says there was a roughly five-hour lag between TransCanada Corp.'s detection of a leak from its Keystone pipeline and its notification of state environmental officials.
Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist manager at the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said Friday that officials would likely look into the notification gap to determine if there was an appropriate reason.
But Walsh says the delay isn't a major concern. He says the primary focus is that TransCanada is on site and addressing the spill.
TransCanada reported Thursday that the pipeline leaked an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota.
Meanwhile cleanup and repairs to the pipeline has brought workers to a tiny nearby town.
Suzie Easthouse, general manager at the Front Porch in Langford, says the restaurant will provide meals for TransCanada workers who hurried to the Keystone pipeline spill site. She'll serve Friday supper and a middle-of-the-night shift meal for 80 people, with meals for 100 people on Saturday.
Easthouse is planning chicken and roast beef with mashed potatoes for the Friday dinner.
She has mixed emotions about the pipeline, which has brought business to Langford, population 300, but also raised environmental concerns. She says: "It's almost like everybody's fears have come true with it. It's not the notoriety we really want in small town South Dakota."
In Nebraska, state officials say a spill from the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota won't affect their decision to approve or deny a route for the related Keystone XL project.
A spokeswoman for the Nebraska Public Service Commission said Friday that commissioners will base their decision solely on evidence presented during public hearings and from official public comments.
Supporters and opponents of the project argued their cases to the commission at a four-day hearing in August.
A Nebraska law approved in 2011 prevents the commissioners from factoring pipeline safety or the possibility of leaks into their decisions. Lawmakers argued at the time that pipeline safety was a federal responsibility that pre-empts state law. Opponents say oil interests lobbied for the restriction.
A federal pipeline safety agency has sent technical experts to the site in South Dakota. A Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration representative said Friday that the agency's investigation is ongoing.
TransCanada Corp. crews shut down its Keystone pipeline Thursday after a drop in pressure was detected from the leak south of a pump station in Marshall County.
State officials say the buried pipeline leak is on agricultural land and don't believe it has polluted any surface water bodies or drinking water systems.
The pipeline delivers oil from Canada to refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma. The leak was found just days before Nebraska regulators are to announce whether they approve an expansion of the Keystone system
TransCanada says it expects the pipeline to remain shut down as the company responds to the leak.
According to U.S. government data, there have been 17 oil leaks in the U.S. larger than the new spill since 2010.
But it comes just four days before Nebraska regulators are due to announce their final decision on whether a major expansion of the pipeline system, called Keystone XL, can pass through the state. The expansion has been fiercely opposed by environmental activists, American Indian tribes and some landowners.
President Donald Trump has approved a permit for the expansion.