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'Confident they'll make it right,' landowner says

FREEMAN -- The man who owns land where an oil spill is being investigated has no qualms with TransCanada. Loren Schultz, of Freeman, is pleased with the ongoing cleanup and investigative efforts on his field near the intersection of Highway 18 an...

TransCanada workers continued excavating a section of the Keystone oil pipeline Tuesday near Freeman after oil was discovered above ground on Saturday afternoon. No cause was discovered as of Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of TransCanada spokesperson Mark Cooper)
TransCanada workers continued excavating a section of the Keystone oil pipeline Tuesday near Freeman after oil was discovered above ground on Saturday afternoon. No cause was discovered as of Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of TransCanada spokesperson Mark Cooper)

FREEMAN - The man who owns land where an oil spill is being investigated has no qualms with TransCanada.

Loren Schultz, of Freeman, is pleased with the ongoing cleanup and investigative efforts on his field near the intersection of Highway 18 and 437th Avenue, about 5 miles southwest of Freeman, where an oil spill was first reported Saturday. TransCanada's Keystone pipeline has been shut off since the investigation began.

"I'm confident they're going to make it right, but we'll see what happens when everything is done," Schultz said via phone Wednesday. "When everything is over with, we'll see how well they compensate me."

The section of pipeline was immediately shut down after oil was discovered in a 30-foot by 10-foot area of field land, and it is expected remain closed until later this week. Schultz knew of two puddles of oil that were found. The larger was located in the ditch and estimated at about 6 feet by 3.5 feet and the other was in his field and about 3 feet by 3 feet.

"I didn't spend a lot of time observing," said Schultz, who was originally notified of the oil Saturday. "I was 95 percent sure it was oil, so I just stayed away from the area to let them look at it."

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The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta, Canada, to Texas, running through eastern North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska, also stretching east through Missouri into Illinois.

Schultz hasn't been given a timeline on how long it will take to clean up or find the location of the potential leak.

On Tuesday, TransCanada officials said the evidence they had suggests the incident is "small in scope." TransCanada began excavating around part of its oil pipeline Monday and was working around the clock to locate the problem.

"So far, they've been kind, courteous and informative," Schultz said. "I've got no complaints about how they're handling it."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said on Wednesday it is investigating the incident and has deployed an inspector to the site to determine the cause of the leak.

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