New Infographic Shows how Keystone Pipelines are ‘Built to Spill’

Read time: 2 mins

TransCanada claims their pipelines are the safest in the continent. And the State Department seems inclined to agree having released their Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Keystone XL pipeline last week. They find that the pipeline poses “no significant impacts” to the environment, and advise the project move forward.

So what about the 12 spills along the Keystone I line in its first year of operation? Since commencing operation in June of 2010, the Keystone I pipeline has suffered more spills than any other 1st year pipeline in U.S. history.

In addition to a nasty spill record, the proposed Keystone XL will cross one of the largest aquifers in the world – the Ogallala – which supplies drinking water to millions and provides 30% of the nation’s groundwater used for irrigation. Pipeline construction will also disrupt 20,782 acres, including 11,485 acres of native and modified grassland, rangeland and pastureland, and pipeline construction will threaten sensitive wildlife and aquatic species habitats.

According to the EPAcarbon emissions from tar sands crude are approximately 82% higher than the average crude refined in the U.S. Given the extremely toxic nature of tar sands bitumen and the fact that Keystone is TransCanada's first wholly owned pipeline in the U.S., it seems reasonable to look to TransCanada's performance with Keystone I for clues on how it would manage Keystone XL.

And the clues are telling.

For one, Keystone I is the youngest pipeline to have been considered an immediate threat to life, property and the environment by pipeline safety regulators.

This Keystone pipeline infographic below shows the spills documented in TransCanada’s publicly released safety records alongside the proposed route for Keystone XL, and indicates key risk areas near waterways and major metropolitan areas.

Check out the infographic below, and head over to the Huffington Post to read more. 

Update: The graphic has been corrected to fix errors in #5 and #6. Thanks to the commenters who caught them.

Image icon Keystone-Infographic-REVISED-630.jpg332.46 KB
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‘The amount of most of those “spills” is quite trivial. I dump more down the storm sewer whenever I do an oil change on my 4x4.’

What an irresponsible so-and-so you are, unless of course this is just a wind-up.

‘It’s okay, I bought carbon credits.’

Crass thinking on display again. Carbon credits are not intended to cover such reprehensible actions, actions from which you are probably open to prosecution. Certainly would be here in the UK.

Also demonstrates why 4x4s should be discouraged.

I cannot understand people like you. I maintain several vehicles for our business, and old oil from oil changes is always recycled!
Yes - it is a bit of a hassle - but our planet is fragile, and worth the effort.
Dumping in the storm sewer - crazy and criminal!

As for carbon credits - really just a boondoggle to make people feel better about doing things they know that they should not do!

I see that spill #5 occurred in Andover, South Carolina, but the pipeline is nowhere near South Carolina according to your map. Did you mean South Dakota? Also, your list of spills is in chronological order, except for #6 (unless it was really 2011 instead of 2010).

recyclenot–your 4x4 uses 21000 gallons of oil? Must be some engine. True, most spills were minor, but one 21000 spill in the first year of operation is enough to raise red flags. Oil may be natural, but then so is arsenic, mercury, lead, hydrogen sulfide, and for that matter botulism–just because its “natural” it doesnt mean you want to be spreading it across the country.

I had heard that the tar sands pipeline may be a maintenance headache since the tar sands oil is more corrosive to the pipeline.

Why is it that the tar sands oil is more corrosive?