On Tuesday, July 19, Bold Nebraska hosted a Community Meeting to discuss upcoming “maintenance” planned by TransCanada on its Keystone 1 pipeline (in operation for just 5 years) in several Nebraska counties.
(NOTE: If you missed the meeting, but are interested in obtaining soil and water testing kits for your land on the Keystone 1 pipeline route, email Amy Schaffer — firstname.lastname@example.org)
Presenters at the meeting included Angela Pickett with the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), and Crystal Rhoades, Nebraska Public Service Commissioner.
Ms. Pickett with PHMSA talked through the corrective action order issued by PHMSA against TransCanada over the faulty welds and other integrity issues discovered on its Keystone 1 pipe — which just experienced another massive leak in South Dakota.
Though these repairs are being termed “maintenance” by TransCanada, many citizens are concerned that the pipeline is actually leaking and this is actually why the company is digging up and replacing sections of pipe.
A PHMSA inspector is expected to be present at the excavation site during the repairs, but these reports will not be made public. Therefore, Bold Nebraska will file a Freedom of Information Act request for those reports so we can determine whether the pipeline was leaking at these intervals, or if the pipeline was just replaced.
TransCanada is required by PHMSA to do this maintenance as a follow-up to the spill in Freeman, SD which was leaking at two drops per minute from a transition weld. The Corrective Action Order PHMSA issued against TransCanada is to verify the integrity of the pipeline.
TransCanada has since identified numerous transition welds that need replaced in Cedar, Wayne, Stanton, Cuming and Colfax county. The company will also be replacing parts of the pipeline that do not meet current government strength standards due to them using faulty steel from Welspun, an India-based company.
A landowner whose property crossed the Keystone I route who was present at the meeting stated that they were experiencing sinkholes on their land. The landowner contacted TransCanada about a month ago, but have not heard anything back. PHMSA’s Angela Pickett suggested that they contact PHMSA and her agency would reach out TransCanada and request a follow-up.
PHMSA informed us they are currently reviewing a request from Rep. Brad Ashford to require independent soil and water testing at the excavation sites, are preparing a response to this request and should be in touch soon. If citizens would like to conduct independent soil and water testing they may reach out to Bold Nebraska to have a testing kit sent to them, contact Amy Schaffer (email@example.com).
Angela from PHMSA explained at the community meeting that if citizens would like to know where TransCanada is doing maintenance on a daily basis, they should reach out to TransCanada representative Mark Johnson:
Mark Johnson, TransCanada
If you do not hear back from him, Ms. Pickett suggested that you contact PHMSA or herself and she would follow-up:
Angela Pickett – PHMSA
Crystal Rhoades with the Nebraska Public Service Commission was also present at the meeting. She encouraged citizens to contact their PSC representatives anytime they experience a problem or have a concern in regard to the Keystone 1 or any pipeline. She would like to see the PSC take on a role that better promotes the safety of citizens, rather than industry. She also suggested citizens make an effort to pay attention to what the PSC is doing, check-in with them regularly, and maintain a dialogue.
Nebraska Public Service Commission
1200 N Street, Suite 300,
WHO IS YOUR PSC COMMISSIONER?