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TransCanada pipeline rupture took three hours to isolate

One year ago today, a TransCanada natural gas pipeline ruptured in Benton Harbour Michigan causing the evacuation of over 500 people. It is one of eleven TransCanada ruptures in the past six years. According to the official US government report of the Benton Harbour rupture, the rupture went undetected by the pipeline control centre until someone called TransCanada to tell them that their pipeline had ruptured and was blowing at very high pressure. Although the pipeline was equipped with automatic shutoff valves; only three of the four valves are reported to have closed as intended and the rupture was not isolated for nearly three hours. Compare that reality to TransCanada’s boasting that their “state of the art” leak detection and control systems will detect a rupture and shut down a pipeline within 22 minutes.

TransCanada is currently seeking approval to convert their forty year old Mainline natural gas pipeline to carry tar sands crude from Alberta through Ontario and then (in a newly built section of pipeline)  across Quebec to an export terminal in New Brunswick. The Energy East pipeline would be the largest in Canada and pump 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day, dwarfing TransCanada’s controversial KeystoneXL pipeline. A three hour rupture on Energy East could see up to 22 million litres of crude spill out and would be the worst oil spill in Canadian history.

According to our recent report TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline would have a 15 per cent chance per year of rupturing- read the report here:  Quantifying Risk: Calculating the probability of an Energy East pipeline rupture.

Watch our 4 minute video handimation about the Energy East project here: