One More Crack in the Keystone XL Pipeline

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Large sections of pipe are shown on a neighboring property to Julia Trigg Crawford family farm on Oct. 4, 2012, in Sumner, Texas. Oil has long lived in harmony with farmland and cattle across the Texas landscape, a symbiosis nurtured by generations and built on an unspoken honor code that allowed agriculture to thrive while oil was extracted. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Large sections of pipe are shown on a neighboring property to Julia Trigg Crawford family farm on Oct. 4, 2012, in Sumner, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Matthew Philips and Brad Weiners over at Bloomberg Businessweek report that in addition to all the other worries about the Keystone XL pipeline there’s one BIG problem that until just this week has been largely overlooked, “hidden in plain sight.” Last fall, inspectors from the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) discovered a shockingly high percentage of scary, shoddy workmanship:

During one week in September, 72 percent, or almost three-quarters, of the welds on the “safest pipeline in the world” required redoing. (TransCanada, for its part, says it has addressed the PHMSA’s concerns; read its response in writing [PDF].) Throughout the Keystone XL fight, TransCanada has maintained that the chance of a spill is remote, and that its pipelines are state-of-the-art. But the implications of TransCanada’s inferior welding on its Southern leg are precisely why the Keystone XL has met with such fierce resistance on the ground in Nebraska. It’s there the planned pipe will pass over the Ogallala aquifer, which irrigates much of the Great Plains, and directly and indirectly supports millions of American jobs — and that’s not counting all the drinking water.

Read the complete Bloomberg Businessweek article »

Michael Winship is the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com, and a former senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos. Follow him on Twitter: @MichaelWinship.
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