Letters From Regulators to TransCanada Do Not Inspire Confidence in Keystone Pipeline

Categories: Environment

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Watchdog group Public Citizen and landowners along the Keystone pipeline's route through Texas have raised serious questions about the frequency with which TransCanada excavates sections of its line for repair. TransCanada told Unfair Park last week that it had indeed replaced some 700 feet of the 485-mile project, set to connect the Cushing, Oklahoma, oil hub with Texas' Gulf Coast refinery complex within days.

TransCanada explained the fixes as a consequence of the extra precautions it takes to ensure the safety of its pipelines. Warning letters from the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, however, seem to contradict the company's confidence in its quality controls. In a September 10 letter, the regulator identifies "probable violations" of pipeline safety regulations. In a follow-up letter two weeks later, PHMSA found still other potentially serious problems.

Public Citizen sent a letter to Congress Tuesday, asking for the delay of the pipeline start-up until oversight hearings can be held and a full inspection performed. "There must be an investigation, and crude shouldn't flow until it is done," says Public Citizen Texas director Tom "Smitty" Smith. "The risks of a disastrous spill are enormous for a pipeline that traverses hundreds of streams and rivers, and comes within miles of towns and cities."

According to its warning letters, PHMSA found sections of pipeline that hadn't been supported with enough soil, resulting in additional stress and dents. A contractor welding the sections didn't use weld blankets to protect the rust- and corrosion-proof coating from damage.

A second letter reveals integrity issues with welds along Spread 3 of the pipeline, from Polk County (east of Huntsville) to Nederland, on the coast. TransCanada halted welding on Spread 3 September 25 when nearly half of all welds required repairs. Regulators found the company used an unapproved welding process and "failed to use qualified welders..."

TransCanada says it voluntarily reported the defects to PHMSA. "All of these issues have been addressed," a company spokesman tells Unfair Park.


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14 comments
CommentsSuck
CommentsSuck

I disagree with the story and every comment on here except for P1Gunter's.

1. The story is bullshit. How do you write a story that makes it sound like there are serious problems on this pipeline when "TransCanada voluntarily reported the defects" and they only had to redo 700 feet out of 485 miles??? That's a 0.0000027% re-do rate. Are you serious with this muck raking crap? They haven't gone live yet, and the first cut was almost perfect, and they reported what they needed to fix for their second cut, and they've fixed it. How about this for the headline instead: "TransCanada Pipeline is at 99.000073% Perfect Before Go Live" and "They voluntarily reported that they found only 700 feet that needed to be corrected and have already corrected the issue. Such horse shit to portray this in a negative light.

2. And for the dufus whose glass is not only half empty but some Democrat took a piss in it.... Are you serious living in Dallas through the last 5 years and thinking that we're still in a recession because you need to believe that everything sucks and the liberals are to blame. Dallas barely had any issues. Your view is way off.

Gas consumption is way down (therefore we're polluting less and are much less foreign oil dependent) because we have raised the cost to the right level to deter waste in consumption AND we have raised average fuel economy on cars. Also, this is a huge part of it, we have steadily been switching much of our consumption over to natural gas due to new fracking techniques. These are all great things. Say thank you to the Democrats.

2. The Dow is at an ALL TIME HIGH. Corporations in the US have amassed huge stockpiles of cash. We're in a boom period and nowhere close to a recession. You're hanging your whole argument on the labor/unemployment rate problem. Why is our unemployment rate high and labor participation still low yet the companies are killing it? Hmmm...... You are watching the beauty of our incredible free market system at work. You don't get that you are seeing America regaining its fighting form again. The recession hit and Obama threw down and prevented us from getting into a depression, floated money to the corporations, which have almost all been repaid WITH INTEREST, and the corporations used the opportunity to remake themselves. They all became much, much more efficient. They cut the fat and got into fighting shape again. They automated everything they could, cut their bloated work forces and when the business came back, they found out that they could handle the volume WITHOUT hiring back the dead weight. That's why there's record profits yet high unemployment. Think through it for a minute. There's no other way it makes sense. If you need to study up, go watch the recent 60 minutes piece or robots and automation. Entire procurement centers that used to have hundreds of employees now only need 5 because everything is handled by robots. All this streamlining has put us in a much better position to compete in the new world economy.

So, thank you to the Republicans and George W for f*cking up the economy with the push to get every poor American into a mortgage that they couldn't afford, and then decreasing our oversight capabilities to be more business friendly and allowing the mortgaged backed securities disaster to be unleashed on the world economy and almost killing us. And thank you Obama for having the balls to throw down and save our large corporations, averting major catastrophe at NO COST to the taxpayer (been repaid) and allowing our corporations to fix themselves and get themselves ready to compete again in the world.

Now, how to get jobs back? Well, Americans who can't get a job should do what we need to do in a free market: Remake yourself and go get another skill or go start something and make some jobs.

Stop bitching about the Democrats and "socialization". The Dems just saved our asses. You just need to go do what the Republicans always preach: let's see some self reliance! Go fend for yourself and make yourself marketable. If you can't do that in this new economy, you're the dead weight that you're always complaining about!

In conclusion, you're all wrong except for P1Gunter. Done.

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

The oil and gas industry is full of bull shit liars and will do what it takes by any means to get their product out of the ground and sold to the highest bidder.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Even if we unwatchdog to the "trust but verify" level, we have failed in oversight of this fiasco. Keystone should have to post a bond in every county this ticking bomb passes thru.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Since reaching a peak of nearly 21 million barrels per day (bbd) from 2004-2007, U.S. oil consumption has fallen off a cliff. It descended below 19 million in 2009 and then after a brief uptick has started falling again. Consumption is now at the level of 1995 and falling.

How can we say we are out of the recession if this is true?

fracquestions
fracquestions

@CommentsSuck Clearly, you were "done" before you ever started. If you truly believe the bullshit you stated at the TransCanada pipeline, then I suggest you move your family very near that pipeline and live there. So what if it kills your kids? They are expendable, right?

ruddski
ruddski

Wow, OFA members got the crack allotment today.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@dallasdrilling.wordpress.com Not to defend oil and gad, but other than it comes out of the ground this is different than any other coporation on the face of the earth how exactly? They're all crooks.

ruddski
ruddski

There's about 2.5 million miles of oil pipeline in the US. What makes this pipeline so dangerous?

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

@holmantx I know it is a crazy thought, but perhaps the tripling of gas prices since the late 90s combined with the near tripling of gas mileage has something to do with it. I am not old, got my D/L back in 1998 if I recall. I paid $0.99 for my first gallon of gasoline and drove an old Volvo 740 that got some 15 MPG. I now have to drop about $3 for a gallon of gasoline and even my piece of shit Volkswagen Rabbit pulls in right at 30 MPG. The demand has plummeted because gasoline is absurdly expensive now and the auto industry finally decided to build cars that didn't go through gasoline like a really drunk stripper does cocaine.

ruddski
ruddski

Thank God we have an honest government now! Oh, wait....

fracquestions
fracquestions

@ruddski If you really have to ask that question, then you are too illiterate to understand the answer.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Because of its thickness, tar sands oil is pumped through pipelines at pressures of up to 101 kilograms per square centimeter (1,440 pounds per square inch, or psi) and temperatures of up to 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit), whereas conventional crude is typically pumped at ambient temperatures and lower pressures. Industry insiders assert that the rate of corrosion doubles with every 7 degree Celsius (20-degree Fahrenheit) increase in temperature. And at those high temperatures and pressures, the natural gas liquid condensate can change from liquid to gas form, which can create gas bubbles within the pipeline that release bursts of high pressure that can deform the pipeline.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@P1Gunter @holmantx

Some of it can be explained by increased efficiencies but coupled with:

US Real GDP by Year - S&P 500 PE Ratio

 the lowest labor participation rate since 1977

 47 million Americans, one-sixth of the country, now receive food stamps Why are 47 million Americans on food stamps? It's the recession ...

I think we are reaping the whirlwind of a move to a global economy.  These QEs are only benefiting multi-national corporations and too big to fail banks, leaving behind small and mid-sized businesses - the true economic engine of the country.  As well as most of the jobs.

I do not advocate protectionism but I DO demand - America First in global competition.  WE need to compete more effectively.

And a massive, centralized government just needs to get out of the way a little.  However, the lobbyists and special interests are just too strong.  Meanwhile we suffer, and declining oil (not gasoline) is but another barometer of our decline.

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