UPDATE: The 1,600 figure we reported yesterday was an early and apparently erroneous estimate. The most recent figure, from The National Response Center, is closer to 8,000 litres. According to the Montreal Gazette, over 110,000 litres of oil have spilled along TransCanada’s Keystone line in the last year alone.
Today, TransCanada shut down its Keystone oil pipeline following its second pump station leak in less than a month. The most recent spill dumped nearly 1,600 litres of oil at a pumping station in Kansas over the weekend. With two spills in the last month, and ten more over the course of the last year, how can TransCanada convince U.S. authorities to trust the safety of its controversial expansion plans?
As DeSmogBlog recently reported, spills are far more common than industry would have us realize. A 2007 report by the Alberta Energy Utilities Board recorded a whopping 5,000 pipeline spills between 1990 and 2005 in Alberta alone.
The string of spills over the past year have only heightened public worries about the safety of North America’s vast pipeline network, and provide evidence that the proposed Keystone XL and Northern Gateway lines should be blocked.
The Montreal Gazette reports that over 110,000 litres of oil have spilled along TransCanada’s Keystone line in the last year.
To top it all off, TransCanada has somehow managed to spin its treacherous spill record and suggest - and you’re not going to believe this - that it’s doing a great job.
How do they figure? Simple.
“We’ve demonstrated we have built a very safe pipeline system because we haven’t had a leak on our pipeline,” says Terry Cunha, a spokesperson for TransCanada. Apparently “oil releases” at pump stations mean the pipeline is safe.
I know I don’t buy it, but others do.
Steven Paget, an analyst with First Energy Capital Corp., argues that TransCanada’s string of spills will not hinder its chances of regulatory approval to extend the line to refineries in the Gulf Coast.
Paget likens these spills to “new car issues” - petty and small.
I hardly think we can liken environmentally devastating oil spills to car problems. But if my car leaked eleven times in one year, you’d better believe I’d get a refund.