Why might the Public Utilities Commission want to reverse its 2010 decision to permit TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline? Perhaps because of this picture of a Missouri portion of the Keystone I pipeline from 2012:
Peak corrosion in this spot was not quite 42%.
Or this one:
Peak corrosion here, just 30% Plenty of steel left to work with, right?
How about this one:
These corrosion points were discovered among six “anomalies” in a nine-foot section of Keystone I dug up at Mile Post 995.95. Peak corrosion depth among them was 96.8%. The steel on TransCanada’s Keystone I has a nominal thickness of 0.386 inch. In a little more than two years, that steel was within a hundredth of an inch of some neighboring farmer shouting, “Thar she blows!”
Keystone XL is supposed to carry oil under South Dakota ranch land for 40 years.
The photos above come from a document obtained from TransCanada by Dakota Rural Action in its preparation for this week’s permit renewal hearing before the PUC. Dakota Rural Action says 96.8% corrosion on TransCanada’s last big pipeline ought to prompt the PUC to question TransCanada’s repeated safety assurances:
“Talk about a near miss,” Robin Martinez, a lawyer for the grassroots citizens group Dakota Rural Action fighting to stop the permit, told DeSmog.
Documents the group obtained during discovery show that the corrosion occurred dangerously close to the Mississippi River near St. Louis.
“Had the pipeline failed, the drinking water supply for a significant number of people could have been destroyed,” Martinez said.
…“Granting a permit would be a risky venture for South Dakota, putting the state’s land and water at risk,” he said [Julie Dermansky, “Evidence Released at TransCanada’s Keystone XL Permit Renewal Hearing Sheds Light On Serious Pipeline Risks,” DesmogBlog, 2015.07.28].
TransCanada insists that the PUC must ignore most of what pipeline opponents are saying and adhere to a strict review of whether TransCanada can continue to satisfy the permit conditions laid out in 2010. It seems fair to consider the corrosion of its existing pipeline since the issuance of that 2010 permit as evidence as to the reliability of TransCanada’s steel and safety claims.