While Reuters and the Associated Press are reporting bland news about the cause of the Keystone I leak following Tuesday's re-booting of the pipeline, the Aberdeen American's Shannon Marvel digs in with Former TransCanada worker says company compromised Keystone Pipeline's integrity; Faulty welds and inspections will cause more problems, fired engineer claims.
A former TransCanada employee who worked as an engineer during construction of the Keystone Pipeline said a leak near Freeman in 2016 caused by faulty welds and lax inspections won't be the last one.
Evan Vokes was fired as a materials engineer for TransCanada in 2011 after trying to publicize what he called the company's noncompliant construction methods. He said TransCanada rushed to complete the pipeline, which compromised the structure's integrity.
Vokes said his job was to ensure that TransCanada constructed pipelines safely within Canadian National Energy Board and U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulations. He worked for TransCanada for five years before being fired in May 2011 after filing a formal complaint with the National Energy Board about TransCanada's failure to comply with construction and safety standards.
Some of his complaints were validated by the National Energy Board in February 2014.
“The board notes that a number of the allegations of regulatory non-compliance were identified and addressed by TransCanada only after the complainant’s allegations were made and were not proactively identified by the company’s management system,” a National Energy Board report reads, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. news division.
In October 2014, the Council of Canadians recognized Vokes with a Special Award for Whistleblowing. The council is a social, economic and environmental justice group. . . .
Read the rest at the paper's website.
Another construction issue appears to be related to the most recent significant spill: the installation of weights on the pipeline in 2008.
Marvel and Scott Waltman provide in-depth reporting about the cause of this month's Amherst Incident in Report: Keystone Pipeline was likely damaged during construction in 2008:
The Keystone Pipeline leak in Marshall County could have been the result of a rupture caused by mechanical damage during construction in 2008, according to a corrective action report released Tuesday by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
"Preliminary information indicates the failure may have been caused by mechanical damage to the pipeline and coating associated with a weight installed on the pipeline in 2008. Weights are placed on the pipeline in areas where water could potentially result in buoyancy concerns," the report reads.
At the time of the leak, which was detected the morning of Nov. 16., TransCanada was using tools to both clean and internally inspect the pipeline, according to the report.
"Both tools passed the failure site prior to the rupture without identifying any leakage from the pipeline at this location. There is no indication the tools contributed to the release," the report reads. . . .
Read the article for the details of the corrective order.
Photo: An aerial view of the leak.
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