Tuesday, April 5, 2016

TransCanada's Keystone is Spewing Crude Adding Fuel to Pipeline Protests

The little brother of the canceled Keystone XL has sprung a leak giving fuel to those who are opposed fossil fuels pipelines including the Dakota Access and the Energy East. Calgary based TransCanada Corp., is the owner of the 30-inch Keystone l pipeline. As of yet the company has offered no explanation as to the cause or the source of the leak. The spill is estimated to have leaked 187 gallons of crude oil. The pipeline was shut down after the leak was detected in South Dakota near its Freeman pump station in Hutchinson County on the afternoon of Saturday April 2, 2016.

As reported by the National Observer, the leak was discovered by a passerby not the companies sophisticated leak detection system.

Cleanup crews are on sight but the pipeline remains closed from the tar sands terminal in Hardisty, Alberta, to Wood River, Illinois, and from Steele City, Nebraska, to Cushing, Oklahoma.

While TransCanada is trying to play down the impact, the chairman of the South Dakota watchdog, Chris Nelson said: "Obviously there is an (environmental) impact to the soil where the leak occurred."

The Keystone l has spilled five times in South Dakota alone, and this is the second leak at this pump station. Spills are one of the reasons that people are increasingly weary of fossil fuels. In North America there were 33 fossil fuel spills in 2015.

According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration TransCanada has failed to operate Keystone safely. They identified 62 probable deficiencies on the pipeline including a section of pipe near the Mississippi River that had lost 97 percent of its wall thickness.

Protestors succeeded in encouraging President Obama to cancel the Keystone XL and they are also opposing the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline (DAP). The DAP is a 1,168-mile pipeline that would carry 1.1 million barrels of Bakken fracked oil a day to Patoka, Illinois.

The protests in Dakota are being spearheaded by indigenous people including the local Lakota (Sioux) who rode horseback to protest the DAP. A number of tribes have come together to petition for an environmental impact study. Other national campaigns are also working to prevent the DAP from being built.

The news of another spill comes at a bad time for TransCanada. The company is trying to convince Canadians about the safety of their pipelines so that it can get the green-light to build more pipelines. This includes the 4,600 kilometre Energy East that would carry one million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick. Last July one of the worst spills in Canadian history occurred south of Fort McMurray at a Nexen Energy pipeline's Long Lake tar sands facility

Fossil fuels are the primary cause of climate change, spills are common and there is no safe way to transport fossil fuels.

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