Sipa / AP

1,000 barrels of crude oil spill from Oklahoma pipeline

Spill in Noble County confirmed hours before Obama administration rejected trans-North American Keystone XL pipeline

A Tulsa-based pipeline company said Friday that about 1,000 barrels of crude oil spilled from a pipeline in rural Oklahoma.

The incident was confirmed hours before President Barack Obama rejected the trans-North American Keystone XL pipeline, which opponents charged would endanger communities across the continent.

Bruce Heine, a spokesman for Magellan Midstream Partners, said in an email Friday that the oil was released about 6 p.m. Thursday from a Magellan pipeline that stretches from Enid to Ponca City.

Heine said the spill occurred in a rural area near Billings. He said no injuries or evacuations were ordered and no water was contaminated. The Noble County Sheriff’s office told Al Jazeera it was not aware of any public safety issues related to the spill.

The pipeline was quickly shut down and the oil has been contained. Heine said Magellan plans to recover the oil and clean up any affected soil. He added that repairs to the pipeline would begin later Friday.

According to Heine, damage to the pipeline involved excavation by another party. The incident remains under investigation.

Hours later on Friday, Obama said at a press conference that the State Department had decided against the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, which would have transported Canadian Alberta tar sands oil to refineries in Wisconsin.

“We’ve got to come together around an ambitious framework to protect the one planet that we’ve got while we can,” he said, after also saying the project would not have significantly benefited the U.S. economy.

Environmentalists heralded the decision as potentially preventing future fossil fuel-related disasters that threaten communities.

"This is a big win," Bill McKibben, an environmental activist, told Reuters. Mckibben is a co-founder of the group 350.org, which helped make Keystone a symbol of a movement to slow global oil output.

Obama's decision "is nothing short of historic, and sets an important precedent that should send shockwaves through the fossil fuel industry," McKibben said.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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