Despite the best efforts of the fossil fuel industry, the northern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline expansion is still in a holding pattern. What many people don’t realize is that the southern portion, which runs from Texas to Oklahoma, is 90 percent complete and likely to come online later this year. A former TransCanada employee recently came forward to expose the company’s lies about just how safe the pipeline will actually be. “The company is still ignoring the engineering codes and regulations that guide pipeline construction…Keystone XL will likely leak,” the whistleblower told The Texas Observer.
This troubling accusation is made by Evan Vokes, a former TransCanada employee who was fired last year for complaining to his superiors about poor pipeline construction that failed to meet engineering codes. In his interview with the Texas Observer, Vokes cited multiple repairs on pipeline sections with dents, faulty welds and other anomalies. Vokes, and the farmers and ranchers on whose land the pipeline is deployed, fear that the constant cycle of damages and repairs has weakened the pipeline’s integrity, increasing the already high chance of leakage.
“…each time a piece of pipe is replaced, two new welds are needed to attach the new section to the pipeline. Because hydrotesting is required only once, these welds are never pressure-tested like the rest of the welds on the line,” reports the Observer.
With multiple tar sands spills already on the books this year, including one that demolished the entire downtown area of a Canadian town, landowners got a first hand look at what they could be in for if the Canada to Texas portion of the Keystone XL pipeline is approved. Many hope that a former TransCanada employee’s report that the company values speed over quality construction will help to mobilize more conservative landowners against the pipeline.