Whistleblower: Keystone XL Pipeline Not Safe

We tend to be suspicious of people who say they’ve involved themselves in controversy because their kids encouraged it.

Ersatz Keystone XL pipeline whistleblower Mike Klink writes in the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal-Star:

I am not an environmentalist, but as a civil engineer and an inspector for TransCanada during the construction of the first Keystone pipeline, I’ve had an uncomfortable front-row seat to the disaster that Keystone XL could bring about all along its pathway.

Despite its boosters’ advertising, this project is not about jobs or energy security. It is about money. And whenever my former employer Bechtel, working on behalf of TransCanada, had to choose between safety and saving money, they chose to save money.

As an inspector, my job was to monitor the construction of the first Keystone pipeline…

What did I see? 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…

TransCanada says that the performance has been OK. Fourteen spills is not so bad. And that the pump stations don’t really count. That is all bunk. 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?

Let’s be clear — I am an engineer; I am not telling you we shouldn’t build pipelines. We just should not build this one…

As reported by the Canadian Press, here’s TransCanada’s response:

TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha disputed Klink’s assertions, saying he “appears to have made a number of allegations against his previous employer and others, none of which have been proven.”

Cunha added that whenever safety concerns are raised by inspectors, TransCanada takes them seriously.

“If a concern is raised, we investigate immediately. If corrective action is required, we act …. Safety is top priority for us. We monitor our Keystone pipeline system through a centralized high-tech centre 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Giving Klink the momentary benefit of doubt, why not just make sure the Keystone XL is better constructed than the first Keystone pipeline versus not building the Keystone XL at all?

Next, have the 14 spills been of any consequence? A simple spill is unlikely to be “catastrophe.” Maybe it makes economic sense to clean up a few spills as opposed to constructing a pipeline for the ages.

3 thoughts on “Whistleblower: Keystone XL Pipeline Not Safe”

  1. Mr. Mike Klink was most likely correct about the foreign steel (Chinese) being used, however the use of certain terms to describe indications created while welding should have been used in a “whistleblower” article so others Engineers, QA/QC Inspectors, AWS CWI’s, 3rd Party Inspectors all the way down to the NDE Inspector would take him more seriously. Chinese steel is a big problem, but the pipe gets inspected after production multiple times by all parties involved then during construction the pipe gets inspected when welded. Now if you want to talk scary then read API 1104 inspection code of pipelines, 2″ indication within 12″ of welding on pipeline, until that pipeline goes into a petrochemical / refinery LP plants then it gets inspected to ASME 31.3 and that inspection goes from 2″ down to .0625″ indication due to the location of the pipe being inside a very big possibly catastrophic site, not that pipelines don’t blow up and kill the innocent because they do but most from age or accident from other source. Any “written evidence” about what Mr. Klink accusations could and or would have been disposed of easily. TransCanada and Bechtel paid for the inspection and will do what they want with the inspection reports. Bechtel was one of the best companies I’ve been involved with, they always took inspections seriously, if we had concerns they would address the situation properly! I’ve contracted my services to more companies then a dog has fleas and Bechtel was one of the best, try working around Cameron Oilfield then you’ll know BS….. ps any “cracks” caused by welding will be cut out and re-welded until proper welding is completed and inspected to code, if I leave an inspection knowing there’s a problem and they refuse to fix, I KEEP COPIES OF MY INSPECTION REPORTS, complete with the signature of the lead on site!!! Cover your own ass was the 1st thing I learned in the Inspection World!!!

  2. If this guy was really an inspector for Bechtel and saw the things he said he saw….he either reported them and there is a record of it, or he did not report it and he is a criminal.

  3. There’s over 600,000+ miles of pipeline in America. So SUDDENLY a new one is going to kill the planet? What a crock of BS.

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