SIGN: Shut TransCanada’s Keystone Down & Investigate Pipeline Integrity



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When it was constructed in 2010, TransCanada predicted its Keystone pipeline would leak once every seven years.

The pipeline actually leaked *12* times during just its first year of operation. (1)

The Keystone pipeline has now experienced more than 30 spills since it launched in 2010 — including the most recent 17,000-gallon tarsands and benzene spill in South Dakota that was first detected by a landowner on April 2, 2016. (2)

TransCanada’s highly-touted “spill detection system” failed to notify anyone of the spill, which has been leaking from the pipeline for an unknown period of time. The spill was discovered by a farmer.

“Continued operation of Keystone is or would be hazardous to life, property and the environment without corrective actions,” PHMSA wrote in its corrective order to TransCanada issued in response to the Keystone spill in S.D. (3)

The Corrective Action Order found that the Keystone pipeline leak was caused by a “girth weld anomaly at a transition site.”

“Bad welds can result in a catastrophe,” says former TransCanada engineer-turned-whistleblower Evan Vokes. “A tiny crack in a weld can leak for years before it is found, because leak detection systems are only capable of detecting leaks when a pipeline’s volume drops by two percent in the course of a day. There could be hundreds of cracks in welds along the Keystone Pipeline and TransCanada’s leak detection system wouldn’t locate them.” (4)

PHMSA also identified over 60 probable deficiencies in TransCanada operations in 2015 alone. (5)

We call on PHMSA and state pipeline regulatory agencies in Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas to shut down TransCanada’s Keystone and conduct an immediate pipeline integrity review


1. “Keystone Pipeline: Built to Spill,” Huffington Post, 8/29/11.

2. “TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline Resumes Operations Under Supervision After South Dakota Dilbit Spill,” Desmog, 4/11/16.

3. “Corrective Action Order,” Pipeline Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration, 4/9/16.

4. “TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline Resumes Operations Under Supervision After South Dakota Dilbit Spill,” Desmog, 4/11/16.

5. “Keystone Pipeline spills in South Dakota,” Scottsbluff Star-Herald, 4/10/16.

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