An activist holds up a sign outside the State Department during a protest of the Keystone XL pipeline on March 7, 2014 in Washington. Activists organized by...
Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty

After latest spill, Trump’s Keystone assurances appear ridiculous

Updated

It was exactly four years ago this week when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump condemned the Obama administration’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. As the future president put it at the time, the proposed oil pipeline would be “good for the environment.”

Trump added that there was “no downside” to approving the project.

Yeah, about that….

The Keystone pipeline system, an addition to which has been the subject of environmental protests for years, leaked about 383,000 gallons of crude oil in North Dakota, covering an estimated half-acre of wetland, state environmental regulators said.

The spill, which has been contained, occurred in a low-gradient drainage area near the small town of Edinburg in northeast North Dakota, less than 50 miles from the Canadian border, according to Karl Rockeman, the director of the state Department of Environmental Quality’s division of water quality.

“It is one of the larger spills in the state,” he said in an email on Thursday.

As regular readers may recall, this latest spill was not the first such incident involving the Keystone project.

But it’s not altogether clear Trump knows or cares about such details. During remarks in North Dakota a couple of years ago, the president said in reference to the pipeline. “I think environmentally better. I really believe that – environmentally better.”

Better than what, he did not say.

At a shale-energy conference last week in Pittsburgh, Trump added, again in reference to Keystone, “[I]t’s been operating now and very successfully. And a lot of jobs and a lot of everything else. And a lot of clean environment because that’s what it is.”

That, of course, was just days before the Keystone pipeline system leaked 383,000 gallons of crude oil in North Dakota.