TransCanada will begin shipping crude oil through the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline today. The southern leg starts in Cushing, Oklahoma and goes to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. According to the Dallas Morning News, the pipeline will be capable of moving 830,000 barrels of crude a day.
The northern leg of the pipeline is still waiting for approval from the State Department. The southern route doesn’t require State Department approval as it doesn’t cross an international boarder. The southern leg did receive approval from the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Many are still concerned about the pipeline and are still fighting it. Lawsuits have been filed in Nebraska and one in Texas, where they have appealed to the state Supreme Court. Texas landowners are starting a new network to over see the pipeline called Texas Pipeline Watch. The group will help ensure that any leaks or other mishaps are reported quickly.
“We’re going to be watching these things,” said Julia Trigg Crawford, a north-Texas landowner who has been fighting a losing battle in state courts. “We’ll be taking measurements and testing water. Usually their fancy-schmancy detection systems are not what discover leaks. It’s ordinary people. This is like a giant neighborhood watch.”- read more
Worries about the pipelines safety multiplied last summer, when the company had to pull up sections of pipeline to make repairs. Citizens identified more than 100 repair sites from the Oklahoma-Texas border and the Texas Gulf.
In September, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration sent TransCanada two letters warning of violations. The violations included not hiring qualified welders and failing to protect the pipeline during construction. The agency said TransCanada addressed these issues but many are still concerned about the pipeline’s safety.
A similar pipeline owned by Enbridge Energy, leaked earlier this week in Canada furthering concerns. While this leak seems to be fairly minor, leaking around 125 barrels of oil, Enbridge doesn’t have the best record when it comes to spills. One of the companies pipelines leaked around one million gallons of crude oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River back in 2010. The spill is the largest inland oil spill in US history. The company is still working to clean up the spill and has already missed a deadline.
TransCanada is expected to have a news conference later today.
Photo credit: shannonpatrick17