East Texas Observer
The East Texas Observer, with NacSTOP (Nacogdoches Stop Tar Sands Oil Permanently) has done lots of great work keeping a watchful eye over TransCanada’s summer-long digging and repairing process of the KXL Gulf Coast project. Check out their documentation here! http://nacstop.org/EastTexasObserver.html
On Tuesday, November 12th 2013, a watchdog group “Public Citizen” issued a 28-page report documenting over 125 anomalies on sections of the Keystone XL Gulf Coast pipeline spanning 250 miles through Texas. The report is available here: http://www.citizen.org/documents/Keystone%20report%20November%202013.pdf
Also, check out their pictures of TransCanada’s anomalies here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/publiccitizen/
Tar Sands Blockade
Check out TSB’s own set of Flikr photos showing anomaly repair here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarsandsblockade/sets/72157634028207571/.
To highlight the anomaly repair process and to make known our call to delay the start-up of KXL-south till it can be entirely dug-up and re-done according to code, TSB produced a pamphlet and distributed it to all manner of industry and regulatory officials at the Pipeline Safety Trust conference held in late November 2013 in New Orleans, LA. The pamphlet is available for download here:
Documents from PHMSA
PHMSA makes clear its own safety goals on its “Mission” page: http://www.phmsa.dot.gov/about/mission. A screenshot of it is below. For more discussion about PHMSA and irresponsibility, check out our blog PHMSA’s Not Doing Its Job.
TransCanada’s 57 “Special” Conditions for Keystone XL
TransCanada’s spokesperson Shawn Howard has been using the power of intentional deceit quite liberally this past year. He quite frequently points to the “57 Special Conditions” that Keystone XL has to follow which are allegedly “above and beyond” federal requirements. To view these conditions, check them out here: KXL-meets-fed-standards-and-57-conditions.
Research by Anthony Swift of the National Resources Defense Council shows that the 57 conditions, which were suggested by PHMSA and which PHMSA uses to assuage concerned residents that everything’s going to be alright, are smoke-and-mirrors. Most of the regulations are already required by law. Read about it here: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/aswift/ntons_tar_sands_pipeline_safet.html
PHMSA’s Warning Letters for TransCanada
PHMSA issued warning letters to TransCanada on September 10th and 26th, 2013. The letters addressed faulty weld procedures and inadequate installation practices noticed during June and July 2013. It’s noteworthy that these letters came so late after the code violations were noticed, and especially noteworthy that, as you’ll see in the letters, PHMSA doesn’t even require a response for demonstration of compliance and warns that any response that TransCanada offers would be subject to being made public. In other words: “heads up, TransCanada: if you speak it, they’ll FOIA for it”. The letters are available online here:
For Standard Inspection Reports
Kathy DaSilva, a concerned resident who lives near Nacogdoches, Texas, submitted TSB’s first FOIA request directed at PHMSA on Thursday, October 17th, 2013, the day the government shut-down ended. It demanded most of PHMSA’s “Standard Inspection Reports” before and during the process in Summer 2013 in which TransCanada traversed huge swaths of Texas to dig up the pipe which wasn’t built right the first time. The idea was to find out why and how it was possible that so many construction errors could have occurred if PHMSA was regularly doing inspections during the construction process. Despite the fact that this request unambiguously asks for specific documents whose existence (if they did indeed inspect the pipe) is known, and thus, that PHMSA’s FOIA Office should in principle have been able to offer the requested documents within a day after receiving the request, to this day PHMSA has yet to respond to Kathy’s FOIA request with any of the requested documents.
For Safety Testing Reports
On November 12th, 2013, just hours after Public Citizen’s report was released, TSB mailed out its second FOIA request to PHMSA. It requested all documents related to 5 different types of quality tests done on the pipeline: Hydrostatic Testing, Pipeline Inspection Gauge (PIG) Testing, Radiography Testing (RT), Automated Ultrasonic Testing (AUT) and JEEP Testing (another form of electromagnetic testing on the pipeline). As of this writing it’s nearing 20 days since receipt of the FOIA was issued to us so PHMSA owes us a response pretty soon!
THE COMPILATION OF FOIA REQUESTS THAT ONE OF US RECENTLY UNCOVERED?
Print and mail these Christmas cards to PHMSA, TransCanada, friends and family!
Ramsey’s Toast to an Exploitation Free Future
Our very own Ramsey Sprague offered this toast to pipeline industry executives, and regulatory agencies such as PHMSA, at the annual Pipeline Safety Trust Conference held in New Orleans, late November 2013. To read more about the conference click here.