Colonial Pipeline leak increases concern over construction of Dakota Access Pipeline

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BISMARCK, N.D. - On Sept. 9, a refined gasoline pipeline began leaking in rural Alabama, before it could be shut off, 6,000 barrels of gasoline leaked into a containment pond. It's what many fear could happen if the Dakota Access Pipeline is completed.

The Colonial Pipeline services the gasoline needs of much of the South Eastern United States. It's leak has caused massive gas shortages across the area, but some in North Dakota are worried about the effects it could have on the environment and if that type of leak could happen here.

The Colonial Pipeline in the South East US carries about 2.6 million barrels of refined gasoline a day.

On Sept. 9 it started to leak. Only about 6,000 barrels were spilled, but that's around 250,000 gallons of gas. Some reports estimate the total spill is closer to 300,000.

And some are worried that something like this could happen to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Crude oil and gasoline contain Benzene and that can be toxic for humans.

"It takes 17 drops of Benzene to contaminate 50,000 gallons of water. So can you imagine what we'd be dealing with, with 336,000 gallons," said Nicole Donaghy, Dakota Resource Council.

The fear is it could happen beneath the Missouri River.

But regulators say pipelines are a necessity for our society.

"If you want energy security as a country, you need pipelines. If you want transportation safety, you need pipelines. If you want low cost energy, you need pipelines. So if you're want to use oil, pipelines are by far the best way to move it," said Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk.

Public Service Commission Brian Kalk says Dakota Access has submitted every safety plan required.

"The Dakota Access Pipeline, they've got extra shut off valves and they go under the river. They have extra pipe depth, extra pipe thickness. So, quite honestly anything that could be put on their as a safety feature, we've asked that of the company," said Kalk.

But opponents say even the best laid plans often go awry.

"The Keystone pipeline that ruptured in South Dakota near Bridger did have remote shut offs and emergency valves, but it still failed," said Donaghy.

The Colonial Pipeline leak was stopped and clean up efforts are well underway.

The Colonial Pipeline leak and shutoff has caused a serious gasoline shortage in the south east, the company said in a release Monday they will deliver gasoline to shipping terminals using alternative pipelines.