TC Energy Bucks Responsibility in Biggest Spill in Keystone Pipeline History


Morgan Caplan, Sierra Club,

Topeka, KS – Just two months after the Keystone pipeline spilled almost 13,000 barrels of tar sands oil in Washington, Kansas, the pipeline’s operator TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) has now announced that the leak was due to construction flaws, including bending stress on the pipe and improper welding. This is after the operator has failed to disclose information regarding the spill to media and elected officials and barred them from viewing the area of the spill. 

In its statement, TC Energy ignored its flaws in original design, materials, and installation and conveniently continued to pass the buck of responsibility to third-party analysis and facilities. The company even goes on to say that the pipeline was operating at a maximum operating pressure – setting this pipeline up for yet another disaster like this one and the 22 other leaks it has had since its first year in operation. This is the pipeline’s biggest spill by far– with this spill exceeding all of the 22 previous spills combined. TC Energy initially said this pipeline could spill approximately once every seven years. Now four of its largest spills have happened in just the last six years. 

“We know that it’s not if oil pipelines leak, it’s when, and these design flaws are a consistent trend we see with failing pipelines, while corporations continue to rake in record profits while polluting our communities,” Zack Pistora, Sierra Club Kansas Chapter Lobbyist said. “The failure analysis reaffirms it's only a matter of time before another weld fails or design error causes environmental disaster like this again, or worse. How many hazardous fossil fuel disasters will we endure before we come to our senses? TC Energy doesn’t need a slap on the wrist – it needs real consequences. It’s time for TC Energy to shut this pipeline down and stop putting our climate and communities in danger time and again.”

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