Report: The southern half of Keystone XL is a dented, sagging mess

From Salon:

Over 125 defects were discovered along 250 miles of pipeline

Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013

The southern half of the Keystone XL pipeline is set to begin pumping 700,000 barrels of synthetic crude oil per day through Texas within the coming weeks — but a new report questions its ability to do so without posing a major environmental risk.

According to a report released today by the non-profit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, TransCanada, the pipeline’s operator, has already had to repair 125 “anomalies” along 250 miles of the complete 485 mile pipeline. The potential defects identified by the group include dents, welds, field coating problems, improper backfilling, unintentional sags, insufficient pipe support and poor soil management. While TransCanada, according to the report, say it’s excavated areas of the pipeline out of an “abundance of caution,” the report warns that the damages, along with what appear to be shoddy repairs, “raise the specter of history repeating itself, with toxic crude leaking or even gushing from damaged pipe.”

That history to which is refers is far from reassuring. From the report:

During the construction of Keystone I, TransCanada pledged to meet 50 special conditions. But more than 47 anomalies along the line in four states had to be retested, and the Keystone I line spilled 12 times in the first year of operation.

In July 2011, TransCanada’s Bison natural gas pipeline exploded within the first six months of operation, blowing out an approximate 40-foot section of pipe. TransCanada had been warned of potential quality problems with construction and inspection.

In the 1990s, Iroquois Pipeline Operations, a subsidiary of TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., and four senior executives pleaded guilty to knowingly violating environmental and safety provisions of the pipeline construction permit. Iroquois executives had promised a pipeline of exceptional safety.

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