Following an oil spill of the Keystone Pipleine in north-central Kansas, a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) remains in effect. The restriction is in effect even as the operator of the pipeline reopens the impacted area.
The ban ensures that the public will not be able to see the full extent of the oil spill. The spill occurred in early December and the cause of the 14,000 barrels of crude oil flowing into Mill Creek is still unknown.
TC Energy, the pipeline operator, said that they received approval from federal regulators to restart the portion of the pipeline that flows into Cushing, Oklahoma through North-Central Kansas.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the U.S Transportation Department initially ordered all operations to stop until corrective actions had been taken. This includes actions to address public health and environmental concerns.
Pipeline cleanup is ongoing. TC Energy stated that they were going to “temporarily divert Mill Creek from a location upstream of the pipeline spill to downstream of the containment dams(Keystone pipeline).”
As for the drone no-fly zone that was put into place, the current end date is January 21st. When the spill initially happened, drone footage was the sole way the media could document the event. The TFR covers a 2-nautical-mile radius around the spill. This is slightly over two miles.
TC Energy states that the no-fly zone is needed and that there will be transparency and media access when safe.
“Clearing the airspace remains critical for the safety and security of the pilots conducting ongoing monitoring as well as the crew on the ground,” the company says. “Crews are working around the clock on the incident and need to be distraction-free.”