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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 along the same route, 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. 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.


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.

See: Path of an Oil Spill


A pinhole leak is just the beginning. The picture at left shows a section of one of Keystone’s pipelines that split, causing an explosion and fire that killed two workers 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 into the river and lake and ruin hundreds of acres of farmland.


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.