The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Pipeline Whistleblower Exposes TransCanada's Shady Safety Record
A TransCanada pipeline engineer, the man responsible for ensuring that pipelines were constructed safely, has come forward with shocking information about TransCanada’s unscrupulous safety practices. Evan Vokes reveals that industry regulations are poorly enforced and lead to potentially dangerous incidents like the Enbridge oil spill.
From Canada’s The Tyee:
“Someone is going die and they just don't know it yet,” explains Vokes.
"My motivation is to prevent unnecessary death and environmental damage," adds the engineer who has also been a welder and millwright.
"The controls for the industry are there but they are not being implemented or enforced. We have the technology to do things right, but we don't have the willpower."
Adds Vokes: "The pipeline industry must take accountability for the true safe construction of pipelines rather than a risk based approach based on faulty data sets on threats to integrity."
Industry lobbyists claim that safety programs routinely protect the public and the environment from pipeline failures with scheduled in-line inspections that might include x-rays, machines called pigs, special monitors or aerial surveys.
Yet companies fail to detect problems on their pipelines all the time, says Vokes.
A recent review of U.S. pipeline data by InsideClimateNews found that 19 out of 20 pipeline leaks aren't detected by remote sensing systems. Landowners and employees at the scene of ruptures report the majority of all incidents.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board also makes a similar point in its sweeping critique of Enbridge safety practices on Line 6B prior to the Michigan bitumen spill.
Given that the pipeline industry proposes to double the nation's pipeline capacity over the next decade, the issues raised by Vokes deserve careful regulatory and political scrutiny.
"The engineers are doing the best they can. But the companies push them to get the pipe down by so many kilometres a day," adds Kerr, the retired welding expert.
"We are all shareholders in this process and want larger returns and that happens by cutting costs in the industry. It seems to me that this process can be a race to the bottom unless we make sure that the pipeline companies fabricate and properly maintain well designed pipelines."
Visit EcoWatch’s PIPELINES page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
by Jordan Davidson
Taking action to stop the mercury from rising is a matter of life and death in the U.S., according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances.
By Alisa Opar
For Chinook salmon, the urge to return home and spawn isn't just strong — it's imperative. And for the first time in more than 65 years, at least 23 fish that migrated as juveniles from California's San Joaquin River and into the Pacific Ocean have heeded that call and returned as adults during the annual spring run.
By Jessica Corbett
Dozens of students, parents, teachers and professionals joined a Friday protest organized by Extinction Rebellion that temporarily stalled morning rush-hour traffic in London's southeasten borough of Lewisham to push politicians to more boldly address dangerous air pollution across the city.
Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Moment / Getty Images
By Bridget Shirvell
On a farm in upstate New York, a cheese brand is turning millions of pounds of food scraps into electricity needed to power its on-site businesses. Founded by eight families, each with their own dairy farms, Craigs Creamery doesn't just produce various types of cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and Muenster cheeses, sold in chunks, slices, shreds and snack bars; they're also committed to becoming a zero-waste operation.
By Jessica A. Knoblauch
Summers in the Midwest are great for outdoor activities like growing your garden or cooling off in one of the area's many lakes and streams. But some waters aren't as clean as they should be.
That's in part because coal companies have long buried toxic waste known as coal ash near many of the Midwest's iconic waterways, including Lake Michigan. Though coal ash dumps can leak harmful chemicals like arsenic and cadmium into nearby waters, regulators have done little to address these toxic sites. As a result, the Midwest is now littered with coal ash dumps, with Illinois containing the most leaking sites in the country.