September 2, 2014

Dents, holes, flaws in Keystone XL with startup weeks away

Steve Horn on desmogblog.org posts on structural problems found in the Keystone XL pipeline only a few weeks before it is scheduled to start pumping bitumen — with its load of toxins — as reported by a Public Citizen report.

Public Citizen Report Reveals Dents, Holes in Keystone XL Southern Half Weeks Before Planned Startup

Damaged section of Keystone pipeline

Close up of section of Keystone XL southern half’s pipe marked “junk” by TransCanada. Photo by Public Citizen

The southern half of Transcanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is supposed to begin pumping up to 700,000 barrels of diluted bitumen per day through the Cushing, OK to Port Arthur, TX route within weeks. But is it ready to operate safely?

Public Citizen has released a chilling report revealing that the 485-mile KXL southern line is plagued by dents, faulty welding, exterior damage that was patched up poorly and misshapen bends, among other troubling anomalies.
In conducting its investigative report, “Construction Problems Raise Questions About the Integrity of the Pipeline,” Public Citizen worked on the ground to examine 250 miles of the 485 mile pipeline’s route. The group and its citizen sources uncovered over 125 anomalies in that half of the line alone. These findings moved Public Citizen to conclude the southern half of the pipeline shouldn’t begin service until the anomalies are taken care of, and ponders if the issues can ever be resolved sufficiently.

keystone-dent

Front of a cut out section of pipe on citizen David Whatley’s land marked “Dent Cut Out.” Photo by Public Citizen

After President Barack Obama temporarily  denied a permit for Keystone XL’s northern half in January 2012, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted Keystone XL’s south half a legally dubious Nationwide Permit 12 to expedite construction. Soon after, President Obama issued his own Executive Order in March 2012 calling for the expedited building of the south half in de facto support of the Corps’ permit.

An August report by industry intelligence firm Genscape said the pipeline, rebranded by Transcanada as the “Gulf Coast Project,” will ship tar sands dilbit through the line beginning in the first quarter of 2014. Now, the race to build the south half literally looks like it could come with major costs and consequences. 

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