SOS Home






Save Our Soil!

Reroute the Keystone Pipelines


The Keystone Pipeline will cut through 218 miles of North Dakota’s woodlands, prime farmland, and irreplaceable native prairie, and pipeline leakage will almost inevitably pollute the Sheyenne River and Fargo’s water supply.


SOS – Save Our Soil – is a group of citizens working to reroute future pipelines away from the water supplies of as many North Dakota people as possible. Our initiated measure reads: “No pipeline to carry crude oil shall be built within six miles of a lake or aquifer that provides water to more than 5,000 people.” The effect would be to route future pipelines out of the watersheds of Lake Ashtabula and the Fordville Aquifer, and hence away from the Sheyenne Valley and most of the length of the river as well, and to protect citizens in all parts of the state.


These pipelines will be a major U.S. corridor for the huge Alberta Tar Sands strip mines, called the most destructive project on earth. Given its immense size and the fact that Keystone asked South Dakota landowners for an easement for multiple pipelines, we know there are many pipelines planned here.


Will the pipelines leak? YES. Pipelines are made of carbon steel, which eventually rusts through. Other pipelines, such as the TransAlaska and Enbridge pipelines, have had disastrous leaks, and the Keystone pipelines will operate at much higher pressure, so leaks will be more certain and severe. A pinhole leak of 2% is not detectable; so 2% of 485,000 barrels per day would leak for 90 days or more before coming to the surface and being spotted or smelled by a farmer or motorist. If it leaked under water in a wetland, it might not be discovered at all.


Will the leakage reach the river? YES. From the land at right, which slopes towards the river, toxins from the tar would reach the river in as little as four minutes if carried by rain or spring runoff. Just across I-94 from this land, the pipeline would cross a wetland that holds water the year around – water that flows constantly into the Sheyenne.


Each pipeline would cut a 50-foot swath through this prime farmland three miles east of Valley City. A leak would render the land permanently unusable.

See: Path of an Oil Spill



A pinhole leak is just the beginning. The picture at left shows a section of the Enbridge pipeline that split, causing an explosion and fire that killed two people in Minnesota. The rupture is 69 inches long.


Even if it didn’t kill anyone, a rupture like this could pour thousands of barrels of oil - or worse, water-soluble toxins from the tar sands - into the river and lake and ruin hundreds of acres of farmland. The currently planned pipelines will be made of thinner steel than the one at left and operate at higher pressure, making a leak even more certain.


Why do pipelines corrode and eventually split? Read about it here.


What can you do about this terrible threat to North Dakota’s soil and water?


1.      Learn more by exploring the links at the top of this page.

2.      Print and circulate our petition using the link above, or email and let us know how many petitions to send you. It will help if you can get the signatures of even your family and close friends.



To read an excellent report from South Dakota, most of which applies equally to North Dakota, click here. The pdf file is 2 MB in size, so you may wish to right-click and download it before you open it.