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Problems with Keystone pipeline's construction, manufacture and design outlined in U.S. report

A U.S. government watchdog found multiple problems with the construction, manufacture and design of the Keystone pipeline, validating President Joe Biden's decision to revoke the permit for a Keystone XL extension, leaders of several House Democratic committees said on Monday.

Biden 'clearly right' to revoke permit for a Keystone XL extension, committee says

U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office, cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. Seen here are bits of unused pipe stored in 2015 at a yard in Gascoyne, ND. (Alexander Panetta/The Canadian Press)

A U.S. government watchdog found multiple problems with the construction, manufacture and design of the Keystone pipeline, validating President Joe Biden's decision to revoke the permit for a Keystone XL extension, leaders of several House Democratic committees said on Monday.

The committee leaders requested the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report in November 2019 after more than 11,000 barrels of crude oil leaked from the existing pipeline in two releases in less than two years.

"In its thorough review of the pipeline's history and construction, GAO found that preventable construction issues contributed to the current Keystone pipeline's spills more frequently than the industry-wide trends," they said in a statement.

According to the report, Keystone's four largest spills were "caused by issues related to the original design, manufacturing of the pipe, or construction of the pipeline."

'Health and environment above industry interests'

Biden cancelled Keystone XL's permit on his first day in office on Jan. 20, dealing a death blow to a long-gestating project that would have carried 830,000 barrels per day of heavy oil sands crude from Alberta to Nebraska, where it would connect with the existing Keystone pipeline that runs to refineries on the Gulf Coast. 

The move effectively cancelled the project, with Calgary-based energy producer TC Energy announcing the same day that it was suspending its work on the pipeline. 

"TC Energy's record among its peers is one of the worst in terms of volume of oil spilled per mile transported," a statement from the lawmakers said.

They included Representatives Peter DeFazio, transportation committee chairman, Frank Pallone, energy and commerce committee chair, Donald Payne, chair of a subcommittee on railroads and pipelines and Bobby Rush, chair of a subcommittee on energy. the lawmakers said.

"President Biden was clearly right to question this operator's ability to construct a safe and resilient pipeline, and we support his decision to put Americans' health and environment above industry interests," they said.

Corrections

  • The original headline and lead sentence incorrectly stated that the U.S. report cited problems with Keystone XL. In fact, the report was about the original Keystone pipeline, which began operating in 2010.
    Aug 23, 2021 2:53 PM MT

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