One year ago today, a TransCanada natural gas pipeline violently exploded near Otterburne Manitoba. TransCanada has had four other catastrophic pipeline failures in the last fifteen months, causing the evacuation of hundreds of people and cutting off natural gas supplies to business and communities in the depths of winter.
TransCanada has had more ruptures than any other pipeline company according to National Energy Board statistics. These five ruptures occurred on both recently built pipelines and pipelines that are up to 40 years old which raises serious questions about TransCanada’s ability to safely design, build and maintain pipelines.
Now, TransCanada is seeking approval to build the largest pipeline in North America. Their proposed “Energy East” pipeline would carry 1.1 million barrels of crude per day, including crude from the tar sands. TransCanada would convert its up to 40 year-old natural gas pipeline from Saskatchewan to Ontario, connecting it with new pipeline through Quebec and on to Saint John, New Brunswick. The 4,400 kilometre pipeline is expected to lead to massive tanker exports from the Atlantic coast to send crude to the much larger and more profitable markets of Europe, India, China and the U.S.
While we are still waiting for official accident reports from the Transportation Safety Board, the National Energy Board and other regulatory bodies as to what caused the five most recent ruptures of TransCanada pipelines, some indication can be found in this quote from whistle blower Evan Vokes:
“I found that TransCanada had a culture of non-compliance, deeply entrenched business practices that ignored legally required regulations and codes.” Former TransCanada engineer Evan Vokes’ testimony before THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY, THE ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES- June 6th 2013
There is no such thing as a pipeline accident. Ruptures happen because pipelines are poorly designed, poorly built or poorly maintained. Five ruptures in fifteen months shows us that something is seriously wrong at TransCanada.
Friday, February 6 is the deadline for sending written submissions about the proposed Energy East pipeline to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). Tell them not to trust TransCanada’s record on pipeline safety here: https://secure.canadians.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1899&ea.campaign.id=34933
Click here to watch Energy East 101, a four-minute video giving a comprehensive background on the controversial Energy East pipeline narrated by Maude Barlow, author and national chairperson of the Council of Canadians.