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Thursday, August 5, 2010

TransCanada Gives in, Withdraws Safety Waiver Request!

Yeah, that's worth an exclamation point—UPDATE 2010.08.06: oh, wait, probably not.

TransCanada has withdrawn its request for a safety waiver from the U.S. Department of Transportation for construction of its Keystone XL pipeline. Senator Jon Tester of Montana announced today that that TransCanada says it will back off its request to operate the pipeline at higher pressure than normal for the thickness of steel proposed. That move alone could cost TransCanada as much as $1 billion. Sen. Tester says "TransCanada also agreed to bury the pipeline at a depth of four feet, conduct frequent inspections and treat the pipeline with an anti-corrosive coating."

Every one of these steps decreases the chance of oil spills like the ones we've already seen on TransCanada's new Keystone pipeline. Keystone XL still represents a significant threat to our wetlands and aquifers. But if we can't convince the government that Keystone XL is an unnecessary extension of our addiction to ever dirtier oil, we can at least take pleasure in this significant victory for environmental safety.


  1. Cory,

    This is a good step but needs to be made permanent and enforceable.

    Bringing it up because TransCanada has apparently told the Omaha World-Herald that it could ask for the higher pressure later. http://www.omaha.com/article/20100805/NEWS01/100809852

    When you read the article, be aware that "stronger type of steel than required" might still mean thinner steel. There are conflicting reports as to whether TransCanada is backing down from using thinner steel, and this paper might not have it right. The company has defended the proposed use of thinner steel in the past, claiming it would be stronger.

    Kelly Fuller
    Communications Director
    Plains Justice

  2. Disclosure: Jon Tester is my senator and this just feels like a safer needle to shove into my arm.

  3. Gotta repost just because the word verification is "sparta..."


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