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Monday, June 21, 2010

More KELO Big Oil Bias: Big Pipeline, Thin Steel, No Worries!

KELO kisses Big Oil's backside with more happy coverage of TransCanada's Keystone pipeline. Specifically, they trot out Public Utilities Commissioner Gary Hanson to tell us we don't have to worry about a BP-Gulf-scale oil leak from TransCanada's pipelines. Cherlene Richards' corporate propaganda includes assurances that TransCanada has a good track record, has tested the pipe, and has all sorts of redundant shut-offs and safety measures. Commissioner Hanson assures us the state has plenty of emergency plans in case something bad does happen.

Completely missing from this objective, professional journalism: information or comment from anyone opposing the pipeline. Hanson is the only individual cited. For those who want to learn more, Richards provides a link to the TransCanada website.

Richards could easily have included opposing views like this:

The company has stressed repeatedly that it's committed to the highest safety standards -- that comparisons to the environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico are "completely unfair."

Yet critics see little distinction. "BP didn't think their well would ever leak," Cindy Kreifels, executive vice president of the Nebraska-based Groundwater Foundation told The Tyee. "They supposedly had disaster plans in place and it has not made a difference" [Geoff Dembicki, "Gulf Disaster Raises Alarms about Alberta to Texas Pipeline," The Tyee, 2010.06.21].

...or this reminder that pipelines inevitably leak... sometimes twice:

As the leak in the Gulf continues, on Tuesday the Trans-Alaska “Alyeska” Pipeline owned by BP and other oil companies, started spewing several thousand barrels of crude oil and was shut down. It’s not clear when the pipeline will reopen. The accident occured about 100 miles south of Fairbanks.

Four years ago 267,000 gallons leaked out of the same pipeline as investigators on the North Slope eventually found what was described as “severe corrosion” requiring the replacement of some 20 miles of pipeline [Joe Jordan, "Nebraska Eyes on Leaky Alaska Pipeline," Nebraska Watchdog, 2010.05.27].

...or this concern about the threat to the Ogallala Aquifer:

The Ogallala Aquifer is one of the world’s largest aquifers and covers areas in South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. Some portions of the aquifer are so close to the surface that any pipeline leak would almost immediately contaminate a large portion of the water ["Staying Hooked on a Dirty Fuel: Why Canadian Tar Sands Pipelines Are a Bad Bet for the United States," National Wildlife Federation, 2010].

And don't forget the 33,000 gallons of oil that spewed into a Salt Lake City creek after an electric arc made a hole the size of a quarter in a Chevron pipeline.

KELO has been in TransCanada's camp for some time. They gave some coverage to landowner opposition, but then turned to happily running TransCanada's propaganda and ignoring the impact of the Keystone pipeline project on landowners forced to accept it. And I still haven't caught a story on TransCanada's road damage on KELO.

Thank goodness for blogs like Great Plains Tar Sands Pipelines and Dakota Today that bring some balance to the corporate news.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post.

    Glad to see I'm not the only one who wonders about KELO.

    I'll have a pretty substantial post on that (and other issues) up on my blog on Monday.

    The elephant in the room:

    Do our elected officials have the skill and the will required to ask good questions, demand answers, and put appropriate legal force into protecting the public interest?

    --Andrew Ottoson


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