Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Government Blocks Oil-Sands Pipeline Government Blocks Oil-Sands Pipeline

This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Energy / ENERGY

Government Blocks Oil-Sands Pipeline

photo of Amy Harder
June 3, 2011

The Transportation Department announced late on Friday afternoon its decision to block a Canadian oil company from restarting a controversial oil-sands pipeline that began operating at this time last year.

The Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, within DOT, is preventing TransCanada from restarting its Keystone I oil-sands pipeline because the “continued operation of the pipeline without measures would be hazardous to lives, property, and the environment,” Jeffrey Wiese, associate administrator, said in an order sent to TransCanada on Friday.

The pipeline transports Canada’s oil sands from Alberta through the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois.

 

Wiese’s order was scathing, and it will likely influence a decision that the State Department is expected to make by the end of this year on an extension of the pipeline, known as Keystone XL. That extension would follow a similar route but would continue down to the Gulf Coast in Texas. It requires approval from the Obama administration because the pipeline crosses international borders.

In his eight-page order, Wiese lays out the “certain corrective actions” TransCanada must take before it can restart operation of its pipeline. He also highlights two spills that occurred last month.

“After considering the circumstances surrounding the May 7 and May 29, 2011, failures, the proximity of the pipeline to populated areas, water bodies, public roadways and high-consequence areas, the hazardous nature of the product the pipeline transports, the ongoing investigation to determine the cause of the failures, and the potential for the conditions causing the failures to be present elsewhere on the pipeline, I find that a failure to issue this order expeditiously to require immediate, corrective action would result in likely serious harm to life, property, and the environment,” Wiese stated in the order.

Environmental groups pounced on the ruling. The Natural Resources Defense Counci, Friends of the Earth, and other groups oppose the use of oil sands, which is considered a dirtier form of oil than conventional oil because its extraction method is more damaging to the environment and its carbon footprint is bigger.

“This should be a clarion call for the State Department to seriously consider the safety concerns posed by Keystone XL, a second, larger raw-tar-sand pipeline that TransCanada hopes to build,” said Anthony Swift, a lawyer in NRDC's International Program, in a blog post after the announcement.

Want the news first every morning? Sign up for National Journal’s Need-to-Know MemoShort items to prepare you for the day.

LIKE THIS STORY? Sign up for Energy Edge

Sign up for our daily newsletter and stay on top of energy coverage.

Sign up form for Energy Edge
Job Board
Search Jobs
Digital and Content Manager, E4C
American Society of Civil Engineers | New York, NY
PRODUCT REVIEW ENGINEER
American Society of Civil Engineers | CA
Neighborhood Traffic Safety Services Intern
American Society of Civil Engineers | Bellevue, WA
United Technologies Research Fellow
American Society of Civil Engineers | New York, NY
Process Engineering Co-op
American Society of Civil Engineers | Conshohocken, PA
Electrical Engineer Co-op
American Society of Civil Engineers | Findlay, OH
Application Engineer/Developer INTERN - Complex Fluids
American Society of Civil Engineers | Brisbane, CA
Application Engineer - Internships CAE/CFD Metro Detroit
American Society of Civil Engineers | Livonia, MI
Chief Geoscientist
American Society of Civil Engineers
Application Engineer - Internships CAE/CFD Metro Boston
American Society of Civil Engineers | Burlington, MA
Professional Development Program Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Farmington Hills, MI
Civil Enginering Intern - Water/Wastewater/Site-Development
American Society of Civil Engineers | Sacramento, CA
Staff Accountant
American Society of Civil Engineers | Englewood, CO
Biomedical Service Internship Position
American Society of Civil Engineers | Flint, MI
 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus