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Save Our Soil!

Reroute the Keystone Pipeline


As currently planned, the Keystone Pipeline would cut through 219 miles of North Dakota’s woodlands, prime farmland, and irreplaceable native prairie, and pipeline leakage would inevitably pollute the Sheyenne River and Fargo’s water supply.


A route five miles farther east, on the Highway 32 right of way, would make use of land that has already been disturbed in building the highway and skirt the edge of farming fields. It would be on the other side of a moraine, or high gravel ridge, from the Sheyenne River, Lake Ashtabula, and the Fordville Reservoir, so the water would be safe. This route, in fact, was Keystone’s original choice.


SOS – Save Our Soil – is a group of citizens working to reroute the pipeline back to the safer location on the other side of the moraine from the river. 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 any future pipelines away from the lake and the Fordville Aquifer, and hence from the Sheyenne Valley and most of the length of the river as well. Since there is good reason to believe Keystone plans to put two additional pipelines in the same easement, the initiative may well succeed in rerouting the first pipeline too.


Would the pipeline leak? YES. Keystone’s pipelines have leaked 572 times in six years – that’s almost 100 leaks a year. A pinhole leak of 2% is not detectable; so 2% of 435,000 barrels per day will leak for 90 days before coming to the surface and being spotted or smelled by a farmer or motorist. Over 400 acres of farmland could be destroyed before the leak was discovered and the valves shut off.


Would the oil reach the river? YES. From the land at right, which slopes towards the river, the oil would reach the river in as little as four minutes if carried by rain or spring runoff. It would certainly reach the river eventually.


The 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.