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TransCanada Replacing Substandard Steel on Keystone Pipeline

Craftsmanship matters.

Eager reader Paul Seamans finds this photo on Facebook from the office and staging ground TransCanada has set up east of Norfolk, Nebraska, for its pipe replacement operations on the Keystone tar sands oil pipeline south of the Freeman leak:

TransCanada operations site, east of Norfolk, NE. Photo by Art Tanderup, Facebook, 2016.07.01.
Photo by Art Tanderup, Facebook, 2016.07.01.

That Michels Construction can’t put a sign up straight is perhaps understandable. They’ve been laying the Dakota Access Bakken oil pipeline at a slant across the prairie this past month.

TransCanada is replacing sections of its seven-year-old pipeline because when they were getting ready to build Keystone, steel prices were high, so they bought cheaper steel that didn’t meet federal safety standards for the volume of oil Keystone would carry at full capacity. I’m sure building a substandard pipeline with inferior materials, only to dig it up seven years later to replace your poor craftsmanship made sense on some accountant’s ledger.


  1. Paul Seamans 2016-07-02 08:52

    Where was the PUC when TransCanada was burying out of round steel pipe? TransCanada was evidently aware that this pipe would need to be replaced in the future. Why didn’t the PUC require independent inspectors onsite during construction? It seems that the PUC is willing to let pipeline companies police themselves and is willing to take them at their word.

    We have a good man, Henry Red Cloud, running against Chris Nelson for a PUC spot. It’s time for a change.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-07-02 09:21

    Paul, Henry Red Cloud should totally ask that question, and others. Did TransCanada let landowners know that they planned to come back when steel prices dropped to tear up their land again?

  3. Paul Seamans 2016-07-02 10:19

    Cory, While I personally like our current commissioners I think that some of them may be in over their head. They are easily lead astray by companies like TransCanada and Energy Transfer Partners. They seem unwilling to buck the status quo.

    Henry Red Cloud has plenty of ammunition in this campaign if he wants to use it.

  4. Richard Schriever 2016-07-02 10:51

    You’re right – there was probably a future value of present money calculation somewhere that said this made economic sense. Of course, there was never any consideration given to the future value of present environment made.

    Here’s an interesting tidbit that may help to inform as to “why” accountants tend to think in non-environmental value terms. Did you know, that of all the professions, accountants have the highest orientation toward being “highly religious”/evangelical/creationists? Just drips with irony – doesn’t it?

  5. Jerry Sweeney 2016-07-02 11:25

    Yeaph, Charlie Pierce (Esquire) had the right of it when he labeled the proposed project “the continent-spanning death-funnel aimed at transporting the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel from the poisoned moonscape of Alberta down the spine of North America to Texas, where what already hasn’t spilled out and killed ducks and bunny rabbits — and the agricultural economy of half the country — will be put on ships and sent out to the rest of the world.”

  6. mike from iowa 2016-07-02 12:44

    Never time to do it right. Always time to do it over.

    Transcan is going to be throwing themselves on the mercy of wingnut congress and begging for subsidies to bolster profits.

  7. mike from iowa 2016-07-02 17:51

    Lights on a string in the photo, is that a used car lot?

  8. Paul Seamans 2016-07-02 19:03

    mfi, used car lot, sounds fitting. I think it is a former truck stop.

  9. leslie 2016-07-02 20:56

    chris nelson has a huge republican lead on this race and we all need to support Henry’s efforts to begin to overturn the PUC.

  10. leslie 2016-07-03 19:29

    carbon tax and arctic drilling in a global warming climate are big ideas that will effect pipelines to Koch Brothers refineries in the gulf.

    Alaskans warn that blocking Arctic drilling will have a major impact on the state’s economy, which is heavily dependent on the practice for tax revenue and employment.

    But environmentalists argue the safety and preservation of the Arctic ecosystem should be paramount.

    A group of 66 House members, led by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), pushed the Interior Department in May to stand firm on Arctic drilling.

    “We urge the administration to once again set the pace in the fight against global climate change by ensuring these vital and unique waters are permanently taken off the table from any future oil and gas development,” the group wrote in a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

    If Murkowski’s prediction is right, Obama will leave office with a flourish on Arctic drilling matters.

    The Obama administration angered environmentalists when it allowed Shell last year to drill ….

    meanwhile, denying and funding climate change denial by exxon has now produced an exxon pro carbon tax position to aviod sanctions for past bad acts,perhaps.

  11. Robert McTaggart 2016-07-03 19:41

    Russia is beating us to the punch with their nuclear icebreakers. No need to go back to port for fuel (which is why the Navy uses nuclear-powered ships).

    With regard to a carbon tax, I am not sure I support that yet…even though nuclear could benefit in some manner since it emits no carbon. I would have to see the details as to who benefits and how the money flows. Perhaps it is “revenue-neutral”, but that does not mean that the money is spent wisely, nor that it ever reaches the ratepayer in the form of an electricity bill discount (or something similar).

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