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210K gallons of oil leak from Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota

FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2015 file photo, TransCanada's Keystone pipeline facilities are seen in Hardisty, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

About 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons of oil, leaked Thursday from a section of the Keystone Pipeline located in South Dakota, according to operator TransCanada.

The spill comes mere days before regulators in Nebraska are expected to make their final call on whether to grant approval to the pipeline's extension, the Keystone XL.

In a statement to its website, Transcanada wrote that crews had shut down the pipeline at 6 a.m. CST after employees identified a drop in pressure. The company is now working alongside contracted specialists in assessing the situation and providing relevant information to government regulators.

The section of pipe in question is located near the town of Amherst in Marshall County, according to Transcanada. Personnel were able to effectively isolate it within 15 minutes to activate emergency response procedures with permission of the landowner.

Officials don't believe the leak affected any nearby water bodies or drinking water systems, said Brian Walsh, an environmental scientist manager at the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

"Ultimately, the cleanup responsibility lies with TransCanada, and they'll have to clean it up in compliance with our state regulations," Walsh said.

The pipeline will remain shut down as the company responds to the leak, according to Transcanada. The statement did not provide a timeline for the repairs.

The spill is the largest Keystone leak to occur in South Dakota, Walsh told CNN. The company has reported two in the past two years.

An April 2016 release spilled just 400 barrels, or about 17,000 gallons, of oil, Walsh said. Clean-up from that incident took approximately two months.

The pipeline transports crude from Canada to refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma. Almost 23 million gallons of oil flow through it daily, according to TransCanada's website.

The spill happened as American Indian tribes in the Dakotas are renewing efforts to protect natural water supplies against the recently completed Dakota Access Pipeline. Lawyers for the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes filed documents Wednesday requesting a federal judge to reconsider the tribes proposals, which federal officials and the pipeline's developer labeled unwarranted.

Also under scrutiny is the proposed Keystone XL pipeline itself, which would be added on to the Keystone Pipeline and has faced opposition from environmental groups, American Indian tribes and some landowners. Though former President Barack Obama declined to grant the project a permit, President Donald Trump issued one in March.

For construction to begin, regulators from Canada to Nebraska must give approval. A decision from Nebraska regulators is expected next week.

Since the spill, the Sierra Club has urged said regulators to reject the proposal. Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign director Kelly Martin said Thursday that -- given the leak -- the only way to protect Nebraska communities is to "to say no to Keystone XL."

Transcanada did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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