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Engineer: Keyston XL is Not Safe

2012/01/12

Mike Klink is a civil engineer who worked on the first Keystone pipeline (the one that had 14 spills in its first year of operation).  Being a civil engineer, he is not against the building of pipelines, which he believes “can and do stand the test of time”.  However, he is coming forward as a whistle-blower, stating that the Keystone XL is one pipeline that should not be built.

Working on the Keystone pipeline.  Photo: thinkprogess.org.

Working on the Keystone pipeline. Photo: thinkprogess.org.

Mr. Klink summarized the “shoddy work” like this:

Cheap foreign steel that cracked when workers tried to weld it, foundations for pump stations that you would never consider using in your own home, fudged safety tests, Bechtel staffers explaining away leaks during pressure tests as “not too bad,” shortcuts on the steel and rebar that are essential for safe pipeline operation and siting of facilities on completely inappropriate spots like wetlands.

This thing shouldn’t be leaking like a sieve in its first year — what do you think happens decades from now after moving billions of barrels of the most corrosive oil on the planet?

The civil engineer shared his concerns with his employer, a company called Betchel, who shared them with the people at TransCanada.  However no action was taken to improve the safety of the pipeline.  Instead, Mr. Klink’s employment was terminated after he had complained one too many times.

The stories of how TransCanada has bullied landowners in Nebraska rings true to me. I am living it, as well. After repeatedly telling the contractor and TransCanada about my concerns, I lost my job.

Mr. Klink ended the letter with a warning to the American people.

Please do not sell out to foreign oil and foreign suppliers. There is no guarantee the product will stay in the United States, only the toxic waste.

He could have been talking to Canadians who risk selling out to foreign oil companies without any guarantee that the product will stay in Canada.  And we are already stuck with a growing amount of the toxic waste.

The decision on whether the Alberta-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline is to be built now rests in the hands of American President Barack Obama.  As a compromise for extending a tax-cut, President Obama has been forced to make his decision within the next two months.

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