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Drumbeat Rex & Barack 13-06-19 PHMSA Heats Up

Drumbeat Rex & Barack 13-06-19 PHMSA Heats Up

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Published by Doug Grandt
PHMSA and a myriad of Pipeline Irregularities Heat Up - TransCanada's Keystone XL, the Safest Pipeline Ever - Says Who?
PHMSA and a myriad of Pipeline Irregularities Heat Up - TransCanada's Keystone XL, the Safest Pipeline Ever - Says Who?

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Published by: Doug Grandt on Jun 20, 2013
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Douglas A. GrandtP. O. Box 6603Lincoln, NE 68506June 19, 2013President Barack ObamaThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Ave NWWashington, D.C. 20500Mr. Rex W. TillersonExxon Mobil Corporation5959 Las Colinas Blvd.Irving, Texas 75039Re: PHMSA and a myriad of Pipeline Irregularities Heat UpDear President Obama and Mr. Tillerson,The controversy surrounding the “anomalies” that need to be repaired in the southern segmentof Keystone XL is heating up. Both PHMSA and ExxonMobil have been called to task by Rep.Edward Markey as a result of his recent investigation. Reports by journalists are an indictmentof their irresponsible and criminal negligence. Pandora’s Box is about to be opened wide.The following was published yesterday:
The fight in Texas against the souther nportion of the Keystone XL pipelinecontinues despite its being over 75percent complete. Pending cases againstTransCanada and departments of the USgovernment cite fraud and improper useof eminent domain. The lawsuits allegethat the government is serving the bestinterests of a corporation rather thanthose of the people it is mandated toprotect. Recently, mandatory inspectionsdone with a water pressure test along aportion of the southern route revealedanomalies.The integrity of the pipeline is now in question. Winnsboro landowner Eleanor Fairchild wasthe first resident to question what it meant to have TransCanada back on her land digging upflawed pipe. She has pulled back the curtain on this project just as Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz. In an effort to quash all criticism, TransCanada's spokesman Shawn Howard in an email tothe Longview, Texas, News-Journal said inspections found "small imperfections" in the pipe,and
David Dodson, another Trans Canada spokesman, said,
"there was no performanceissue with the completed portion of the pipeline. Nine spots will be replaced with a minimum of nine feet of pipeline; 81 feet will be replaced in one 80-mile section of pipe."*Concerned members of Nacogdoches County S.T.O.P. (nacSTOP) have begun investigationsdocumenting the anomalies. NacSTOP's findings contradict TransCanada's assertions aboutthe number of anomalies being removed and their significance. NacSTOP has presented
Photo of Eleanor Fairchild in a hole that opened up on her land due to erosion caused by the KXL pipeline installation.(Photo: ©Cathy DaSilva, January 16, 2013)
extensive photo documentation showings dents, sags and damage to the pipeline's coating,and sections of replacement pipe shorter than the
mandatory nine-foot requirementTransCanada representative Dodson said was mandated by Texas law
. The sags anddents revealed in
nacSTOP's video
 most likely were caused by failure to follow codemandates to adequately support the pipe. This happens when subsoils are not properlypacked in the ditch the pipeline was placed in or where foam pillows were improperly placed tosupport the pipeline. Also, further damage could have been done if the backfill process wasn'tdone according to code.Code 434.11 BackfillingBackfilling shall be performed in a manner to provide firm support of the pipe. When thereare large rocks in the backfill material, care shall be exercised to prevent damage to thepipe and coating by such means as the use of a rock shield material, or by making theinitial fill with a rock-free material sufficient to prevent rock damage. Where the ditch isflooded, care shall be exercised that the pipe is not floated from the bottom of the ditchprior to backfill completion.Texas landowner Michael Bishop isfighting TransCanada with multiplelawsuits, including one challenging theUS Army Corps of Engineers in a federalclass action suit. He alleges the Corpsdidn't give Texas equal protection under the Clean Air and Water Act as it didNebraska, where the Keystone XL routewas rerouted away from sensitiveaquifers. He also alleges the 57 specialconditions recommend by the Pipelineand Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHSMA), accepted byTransCanada, are not being met despiteclaims by TransCanada that they are.PHSMA's code pertaining to all pipelinesis also being broken. The code of construction lays down the law for construction contractors and pipelineowners that must be followed.Bishop contacted PHSMA beforeTransCanada began construction on hisproperty. "I called PHMSA to see if theycould help me and I was told thatPHMSA could not get involved or investigate any complaints until productwas flowing through the line. The Houstonoffice told me thatdue to budgetconstraints and cutbacks, even if theycould investigate, they only had threeinspectors in the southwest division. Theyreiterated that construction of pipelineswas not in their realm of responsibility andthat investigation of complaints could onlytake place when oil was flowing throughthe line and not before," he says.
President Obama and Mr. TillersonJune 19, 2013Page 2 of 6
Michael Bishop next to a warning sign put up by Trans-Canada on his land. He points out the sign is incorrectwhich could be dangerous in the case of a spill for clean-up personal. The sign says oil pipeline when it isa bitumen ieline. Photo: ©2013 Julie DermanskDouglas, Texas, February 19, 2103 Keystone XL pipelinebeing installed on Mike Bishop's property. Foam is seenfloating in the ditch. Had the foam been supporting thepipe properly, rain would not have washed it out. One canonly hope Michels supported the pipe properly beforebackfilling the ditch. (Photo: ©2013 Julie Dermansky)
PHSMA is required to inspect the pipeline during installation and is responsible for makingsure the land is properly restored according to code developed by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. PHSMA's code makes inspections of the pipeline during installationmandatory, not optional, since that is the only way to assure code compliance. Furthermorethe Keystone XL project was mandated to supply a project-specific quality manual that detailshow the regulations and codes will be met.Code b31.4:434.12 Restoration of Right of Way and CleanupThese operations shall follow good construction practices and considerations of privateand public safety.434.3.2 Construction Requirements. Inconvenience to the landowner should be a minimumand safety of the public shall be given prime consideration.(b) In grading the right-of-way, every effort shall be made to minimize damage to the landand prevent abnormal drainage and erosive conditions. The land is to be restored to asnearly original condition as is practical.Last year when TransCanada began clearing Fairchild's land for the pipeline, the 78-year-oldgrandmother stood with environmental activist Daryl Hannah in the path of land-movingmachines sent to dig up her land. She was arrested and labeled an eco-terrorist in asubsequent lawsuit filed against her by TransCanada. Throughout the pipeline developmentprocess, Fairchild has been monitoring numerous issues on her land. "I hope what they aredoing under the ground looks better than how they have left the surface," she said. Largecrevices created by erosion appeared on Fairchild's land in January this year. (Video andphoto of the
crevices and other erosion issues is available here
). The grass planted on theeasement where trees once stood is not taking hold, in part because the topsoil was notreplaced; instead, it was used by Michels, the construction company TransCanada hired toinstall the pipeline, to build berms meant to prevent erosion.TransCanada replaced Michels, whose work caused erosion problems, with another companywhich Fairchild feels is equally inept. They installed a makeshift fix using bails of hay, which donot prevent water from flowing around them. When TransCanada representatives came to seethe restoration attempts, Fairchild told them the fixes won't work. When TransCanada ignoredher, Fairchild called the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the erosion problems."Call the Corps of Engineers," said the EPA. The Corps told her to call the EPA.She called PHSMA, which said it had no jurisdiction despite the code, thoughFairchild was told PHSMA would look intothe anomalies revealed during theinspection. As Fairchild dealt with thestress of having contractors on her landfor the mitigation work, she received aletter with her mid-July court date toanswer to TransCanada's charges. Their lawyers offered to drop all chargesagainst Fairchild if she would keep quiet,an offer she refused. "I didn't do what Idid to stay quiet later," she says.Julia Trigg Crawford is following reportsfrom her south Texas friends about theKeystone XL anomalies as the pipeline isbeing buried. The Northeast Texaslandowner from Sumner near the Oklahoma border was able to delay the pipeline installation
President Obama and Mr. TillersonJune 19, 2013Page 3 of 6
Julia Trigg Crawford on her land taking pictures of thepipeline installation while a TransCanda employee filmsher. (Photo: ©Julie Dermansky)

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