News Stories for Fri., Nov. 17, 2017

A federal pipeline safety agency has sent technical experts to the site of an estimated 210,000-gallon oil spill from the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota. A Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration representative said Friday that the agency’s investigation is ongoing. TransCanada Corp. crews shut down its Keystone pipeline Thursday after a drop in pressure was detected from the leak south of a pump station in Marshall County. State officials say the buried pipeline leak is on agricultural land and don’t believe it has polluted any surface water bodies or drinking water systems. The pipeline delivers oil from Canada to refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma. The leak was found just days before Nebraska regulators are to announce whether they approve an expansion of the Keystone system

Unnecessary use of antibiotics on viruses, which can lead to dangerous antibiotic resistance, is on the decline. Work still needs to be done in Oregon, state officials say, to discourage inappropriate prescribing of these drugs for non-bacterial illnesses. Overall, antibiotic prescriptions are steadily dropping, but Oregon clinicians are still over-prescribing for some conditions such as bronchitis, which is due to a virus in a majority of cases and rarely requires antibiotics, said the medical director of Oregon Health Authority’s Alliance Working for Antibiotic Resistance Education (AWARE). Antimicrobial resistance poses serious health threats. At least 2 million people annually acquire serious infections–and 23,000 of them die–from antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the United States.

The Salem-Keizer Public Schools board of directors voted Tuesday to appeal the decision of the Oregon School Activities Association executive board to group five Salem-area high schools with the three Bend schools in Class 6A beginning next fall. The reclassification, which will span four years, groups Bend, Mountain View and Summit high schools in a conference with McKay, McNary, South Salem, Sprague and West Salem. Salem-Keizer Public Schools had 30 days from the executive board’s Oct. 16 decision to appeal. The OSAA will appoint a hearings officer to the case, though a timetable for the appeal to proceed has not been set as the OSAA is still searching for a hearings officer.