TransCanada in Damage Control Mode Over Flaws in Newly Laid Southern Leg of Keystone XL Pipeline
Dozens of anomalies, including dents and welds, reportedly have been identified along a 60-mile stretch of the southern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline, north of the Sabine River in Texas.
In the past two weeks, landowners have observed TransCanada and its vendor, Michels, digging up the buried southern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline on their properties and those of neighbors in the vicinity of Winnsboro, TX. Some of the new pipeline has been in the ground on some owners’ land for almost six months. It is believed that problems identified on this section of the Keystone XL route must have triggered the current digging, raising questions from landowners about the safety of the pipeline and the risk to personal property and water supplies.
Landowners are concerned that this digging is indicative of faulty pipeline along the route that could potentially leak and threaten water supplies, and have requested TransCanada and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to provide more information about the work.
The anomalies and other problems were reported to landowners along the line and a Public Citizen consultant by several TransCanada vendors, including an independent inspector and a right-of-way representative.
The southern segment is slated to carry tar sands oil from Cushing, OK, to the Gulf Coast for export.
“Here this pipeline has been in the ground for months and now they’re here again,” noted Winnsboro landowner David Whitley. “An independent TransCanada inspector has told me there are all these anomalies on land up and down the pipeline along this 60-mile stretch, including the one on my property they are digging up now.”
“The digging they are doing now next door makes us wonder how more likely a spill might be if they are having to dig up this pipeline now before they even put anything through it,” said Blair Wright, who lives adjacent to where the pipeline crosses his daughter’s land. “We’re concerned about what may happen to our water well and our farm pond should a leak occur.”
The pipeline problems are marked with stakes. A marked section will have a stake that reads “Anomaly” and a number on one end of the section to be excavated, said Public Citizen’s Rita Beving, who has been working with landowners along this and other tar sands pipelines in Northeast Texas. A nearby second stake will often read “Dent” or “Weld,” she said. Residents saw these stakes and pipeline spray painted with “Dent” and “Cut Out,” and observed contractors spraying the new pipe with coating.
“The company does not have to reveal what happened, but seeing a completed pipeline having welds and dents cut out is reminiscent of other infamous low-quality pipelines built by a variety of companies that PHMSA has identified in the last few years,” said former TransCanada engineer Evan Vokes. “The odds are not favorable to avoid a leak when we are seeing problems such as these with a newly constructed pipeline, and a leak poses dangers for the people who live along this route.”
While these landowners from the Winnsboro area have spoken up about what is happening on their land, other digs clearly are visible from the public right-of-way along the 60-mile section being excavated.
“At the end of the day, landowners want answers,” Beving said. “They were shocked to see crews back on their land after pipeline had been buried for months, and they want to be sure these new excavations don’t signal an increased risk of spills on their property. There are too many unanswered questions, and I think we need PHMSA to look into what’s going on with this pipeline.”
The proposed branch of the Keystone XL pipeline is likely to increase gas prices for Americans, contradicting claims by pipeline proponents, a recent Public Citizen report found.
Visit EcoWatch’s KEYSTONE XL page for more related news on this topic.
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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