South Dakota has declared a state of emergency over a spill that has killed and displaced thousands of people and threatens to shut down the state’s oil industry.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday it was taking immediate action to protect drinking water and other resources, including water and soil, from oil and gas activity.
The agency says it is also investigating whether there was a breach of federal or state law.
State Emergency Management Director Matt Leppert says oil spill cleanup workers and other emergency workers will remain on site and working 24 hours a day to ensure people are safe and out of harm’s way.
State officials said the spill occurred in a shallow, low-lying area that lies in the middle of a remote oil patch on the Black Hills National Park.
State emergency management officials say oil and chemical spills can have devastating effects on communities.
State lawmakers in South Carolina passed a bill Wednesday to create a commission to look into oil spill response and mitigation.
The legislation was introduced after a similar bill was passed by the state House of Representatives.
The governor of Oklahoma says he will not support the measure, which was introduced last week by Republican Rep. David T. Hoyer, who said it would make the state more vulnerable to future oil spills.