Crews have cleaned up most of the oil that spilled out of the Keystone pipeline in Kansas

photo by: Environmental Protection Agency

Crews clean up Mill Creek after a nearly 600,000-gallon oil spill in north-central Kansas.

The pipeline company that spilled nearly 600,000 gallons of oil onto fields and into a stream in north-central Kansas says it has cleaned up more than 85% of the crude.

Meanwhile, the Washington County, Kansas, newspaper reported that the Keystone pipeline is by far the county’s biggest source of tax revenue. The county’s second-biggest source of tax revenue? Also a pipeline operator.

TC Energy estimates that 588,000 gallons of crude oil spewed out when the Keystone pipeline burst on Dec. 7 — the biggest spill yet on the Canadian company’s largest oil pipeline system.

The company says crews have recovered about 516,000 gallons. More than 800 workers are on site, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Much of the work focuses on Mill Creek. Several miles of the stream have been blocked off to facilitate the intensive cleanup and contain the contamination.

A state environmental agency said last week that it was seeing a drop in chemical levels downstream from the isolated segment of the creek.

Biggest taxpayers in Washington County

The Washington County News reported Thursday that seven of the county’s 10 biggest taxpayers involve pipelines.

But revenues from the Keystone pipeline eclipse the rest, and only kicked in recently because a 10-year tax exemption expired.

The county, two school districts and other local units of government get more than $1.9 million combined in taxes from the Keystone this year, the newspaper said.

The second-biggest source of tax revenue, another pipeline owned by Northern Natural Gas, paid about $670,000 to local units of government in Washington County last year.

— Celia Llopis-Jepsen reports for Kansas News Service.


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