A Catastrophe For Keystone?

Jun 19 2013 @ 7:59am

Kiley Kroh reviews the damage from a recent oil pipeline spill in Alberta:

massive toxic waste spill from an oil and gas operation in northern Alberta is being called one of the largest recent environmental disasters in North America. First reported on June 1, the Texas-based Apache Corp. didn’t reveal the size of the spill until June 12, which is said to cover more than 1,000 acres. Members of the Dene Tha First Nation tribe are outraged that it took several days before they were informed that 9.5 million liters of salt and heavy-metal-laced wastewater had leaked onto wetlands they use for hunting and trapping. “Every plant and tree died” in the area touched by the spill, said James Ahnassay, chief of the Dene Tha. …

Following initial speculation that the leak stemmed from aging infrastructure, officials from Apache Corp. revealed that the pipeline was only five years old and had been designed to last for 30. The incident comes on the heels of accusations from the provincial New Democratic Party that Alberta Energy Minister Ken Hughes is withholding the results of an internal pipeline safety report pending the U.S. government’s decision regarding Keystone XL.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Penty and Mike Lee describe TransCanada’s reluctance to implement new high-tech leak detection technology for the Keystone pipeline:

TransCanada Corp. (TRP), which says Keystone XL will be the safest pipeline ever built, isn’t planning to use infrared sensors or fiber-optic cables to detect spills along the system’s 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) path to Texas refineries from fields in Alberta. … Though the so-called external leak detection tools have been recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, the Calgary-based company says they’re impractical for the entire project.