Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Pipeline Whistleblower Exposes TransCanada's Shady Safety Record

Energy

Natural Resources Defense Council Sierra Club

'Someone is going to die,' says engineer Evan Vokes, worried that shoddy welds and inspections will lead to a lethal explosion like in Mississippi, shown here, which claimed a worker's life.

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

A protest against the name of the Washington Redskins in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Nov. 2, 2014. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.

Read More Show Less
The survival tools northern fish have used for millennia could be a disadvantage as environmental conditions warm and more fast-paced species move in. Istvan Banyai / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma

Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.

Read More Show Less
A mother walks her children through a fountain on a warm summer day on July 12, 2020 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

A heat wave that set in over the South and Southwest left much of the U.S. blanketed in record-breaking triple digit temperatures over the weekend. The widespread and intense heat wave will last for weeks, making the magnitude and duration of its heat impressive, according to The Washington Post.

Read More Show Less
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus. blackCAT / Getty Images

By Joni Sweet

If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of burnt areas of the Amazon rainforest, near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on Aug. 24, 2019. CARLOS FABAL / AFP via Getty Images

NASA scientists say that warmer than average surface sea temperatures in the North Atlantic raise the concern for a more active hurricane season, as well as for wildfires in the Amazon thousands of miles away, according to Newsweek.

Read More Show Less
A baby receives limited treatment at a hospital in Yemen on June 27, 2020. Mohammed Hamoud / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Oxfam International warned Thursday that up to 12,000 people could die each day by the end of the year as a result of hunger linked to the coronavirus pandemic—a daily death toll surpassing the daily mortality rate from Covid-19 itself.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The 2006 oil spill was the largest incident in Philippine history and damaged 1,600 acres of mangrove forests. Shubert Ciencia / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Jun N. Aguirre

An oil spill on July 3 threatens a mangrove forest on the Philippine island of Guimaras, an area only just recovering from the country's largest spill in 2006.

Read More Show Less